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Debate on Jewish Question Leads to Violent Scenes in Roumanian Parliament

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The Jewish question led to a violent scene in the Chamber today between the Deputies of Professor Cuza’s party and the Deputies of the Peasants’ Party (Tzaranists), whom Prof. Cuza accused in his speech of being in the pay of the Jews.

The Deputies of the Tzaranist Party angrily demanded that Deputy Cuza should bring proofs of his allegation or should withdraw it. “Otherwise.” Deputy Unian shouted, “we shall denounce you as a vile libeller.” Dr. Lupu, the leader of the Tzaranists, appealed to the President of the Chamber to protect his Party against libellous attacks. “You can fool children with your anti-Semitism,” he cried to Prof. Cuza,” not grown-up people.”

Amidst the tumult of cries of “withdraw!” Prof Cuza said that he would acquit Dr. Lupu of having consciously fostered Jewish interests. “I will do you the honor,” he said, “of saying that you have done so unconsciously.

“And I,” rejoined Dr. Lupu, “say that you are an old dotard.”

The Cuzist Deputies jumped up at this, and rushed at Dr. Lupu, who was immediately surrounded by his followers. Feeling was so high that the sitting had to be temporarily suspended.

When quiet was restored, Prof. Cuza continued his speech. “In Bukowina,” he said, “the Jews are seizing all the land. Their agents are Dr. Straucher and the Liberal (Bratianu) Party, and Dr. Ebner and the Averescu Party. The disturbances at Czernowitz,” he declared, “were not a demonstration against the Bacalaureat examinations, but against the Roumanian State. Dr. Ebner, from the beginning, encouraged the demonstrators and afterwards he tried all he could to get the arrested released. I ask the Ministerial Bench,” he went on: “Whom are you protecting? What are the Ministers for the Provinces doing on your Bench? Whom do they represent, the ethnical minorities? Why did the Minister of the Interior not take action against the disturbers of the peace at Czernowitz?”

M. Goga, the Minister of the Interior replied: “My agents have arrested the guilty persons, and justice will be done.”

Prof. Cuza then stated: “You should have treated the matter as one of conspiracy against the State and dealt with it accordingly. You should have arrested Dr. Ebner and the Rabbis. The police did not do their duty. The duty of the Minister of the Interior is to enforce respect for the authority of the State which has been undermined by the agitation of the Jews of Czernowitz.”

Deputy Ebner said: “You must understand the feelings of the Jews, who are human beings and citizens of this country like all others. Those who love their people and work for their good ought to be able to understand also the feelings of another people. If 140,000 Jews in the Bukovina are grief-stricken and mourn the death of an innocent young man, you must not regard it as an insult to yourselves, still less as an act of provocation. The peace and order in which the funeral of this unfortunate victim passed, shows that the Jews can bear up worthily under their sorrow. If, acting on the mandate of my electors, I raise this unhappy question I am only doing my duty, and I have the right to be heard. I am being accused of being the moral instigator of the murder. The anti-Semites must have a scapegoat and I am to be made the scapegoat. I withdraw from my right of Parliamentary immunity. Let any Court of Law, or a parliamentary investigation Commission inquire into my activity. And inquire also into the speeches and articles of M. Cuza and let the verdict decide which of us is the moral instigator of violence.

“The demonstrations in Czernowitz on October 7th did not bear a specifically Jewish character. The other nationalities, the Germans and Ukrainians suffered just as much in the examinations as we did. Even more so. The indignation against the examiners was general.

“The representatives of the Minorities of all nationalities in Czernowitz immediately after the disturbances issued a manifesto sincerely deploring what had happened. But we also protested against the occurrences being exploited as a means of inciting against the minorities and especially the Jews. The Minister of Education, M. Petrovici, was in Czernowitz after the events which took place there and he came to the conclusion that the disturbances had not been prearranged. We have an interest in the welfare of the State. No Jew can desire anything else, because our interests are closely bound up with the interests of the Roumanian State. We are not anarchists, and we are not thieves or murderers to want a state of anarchy for our own ends.”

With tears choking his voice, Deputy Ebner said that he hoped that anti-Semitism would disappear from the country.

Deputy Codreanu, one of the Cuzist members, interjected: “Anti-Semitism will disappear when you Jews are cleared out of the country!”

Deputy Ebner rejoined : “I have expressed this wish, because I look forward to the end of conflicts and disturbances, which would be in the interests of all.”

The Minister of the Interior, M. Goga, then rose. “I want to deal with the question of Czernowitz very objectively,” he said. “M. Cuza’s speech called for an answer from the Minister responsible. The Minister of Education has already stated that the students who took part in the disturbances have been expelled from the Universities and will never be readmitted to any Roumanian University. The Minister of justice will also reply. I regret the act of the young student Totu, who, thinking that he was defending the honor of the people, committed this act of violence. The law will do its duty in regard to him. I declare that we, the defenders of public order and the State will, with the aid of the law, restore peace and security, no matter by whom it may be disturbed.

“But I am not of the opinion of those who see in the students’ movement a collective senselessness, or those who think that it is fostered by ugly interests. The movement is an organic movement of the people. I would call it an occupation of the trenches. I am very glad to say that our university youth is proceeding in a normal manner under the roof of the Universities, in tranquillity and quiet. The last Congress at Jassy, which is the first our students have been able to hold for three years, has passed quietly. From this tribune, speaking as a Minister, I wish them to continue their studies in the same peace and quiet and to cultivate their national feelings.

“The first disturbances which took place in the country since we are in power, were those in Czernowitz. Students and schoolboys who had failed in the examination assaulted their teachers. In the same unequivocal manner in which I have condemned the act committed by the student Totu. I condemn those who attacked their teachers. In both cases the law will do justice. I hold that there is in Czernowitz a feeling which ought not to animate good citizens of a country. Outbreaks of temperament which exceed the proper limits must provoke as answer a like outbreak of temperament.

“Dr. Ebner has written of me that when he came to see me after the Czernowitz events, he had expected to find a poet (M. Goga is a poet) and he had found a Prussian Minister. I am ready to accept his appellation and even severer appellations than that, but I stand here to defend with all my energy the honor of the country.”

M. Goga went on to read extracts from various Czernowitz papers, tending, he said, to show that the Jews have provoked the disturbances. “The Jews are complaining,” he said. “They talk of tears. Where are their tears? Their businesses are doing well. Their tears are for their meetings. At the funeral of Falik, the speakers headed by Dr. Ebner tried to create an atmosphere. But the only speech which moved me was that of the Rabbi. Dr. Marek. And that was no more than a copy of an old prayer of 1641, which was composed after a pogrom in the Ukraine. The sufferings of the Jews in the Ukraine in the 17th century cannot be compared with what is happening today in Roumania under King Ferdinand. Why do you exaggerate? Our people has grown up in a school of ideas of tolerance. The Jews whom I know, who have been brought up to respect authority are now agitating. The Jews are making a mistake. They should regain their respect for authority and be quiet.

“Our program,” he concluded, “includes the establishment of peace and order and good relations between all citizens of the country. We want Dr. Ebner and his colleagues to help us to bring about this calming of spirits. They must make a start.”

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