(Jewish Daily Bulletin)
The protest of the United Roumanian Jews of America against the continued anti-Jewish excesses in Roumania, expressed in an open letter to George Cretziano, Roumanian Minister at Washington, elicited an attack from the Minister on the Roumanian Jews in America, charging them with taking sides with “Bolshevik propaganda” Mr. Cretziano, who in a previous statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency denied the occurrence of any anti-Jewish excesses, declared now in a letter to Leo Wolfson, president of the United Roumanian Jews of America, that the news of anti-Jewish excesses in Roumania is “base calumny” and “a real persecution of Roumania by Jews.” The attack of the Roumanian Minister was answered by Mr. Wolfson in another open letter. The Roumanian Minister’s letter has been submitted to the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress for action.
The Roumanian Minister replied to Mr. Wolfson: “I return you your letter of December 12th, the terms of which I cannot accept, as between the affirmations of the Roumanian Government and the allegations of an irresponsible press under Bolshevik influence, you chose the latter.
“I hardly can believe that the majority of Roumanian Jews of New York can approve your attitude and if they do, I should consider them as having lost every Roumanian feeling.
“The Roumanian Government, which I represent, is composed of men who are neither insane nor stupid, and they would be both if they started or tolerated persecution of Jews, knowing the solidarity of your people all over the world, and the wrong they would do to the Roumanian cause, in raising public opinion in foreign countries against it.
“I should rather consider the actual press-campaign, to which you seem to associate yourself, as a real persecution of Roumania by Jews–certainly not all Jews, but some of them who consent to be conscient or inconscient agents of Soviet propaganda. The unfriendly feelings of Soviet Russia towards Roumania are well known, as is known the great number of Jews who are predominant in its organization, the influence they exercise over some of their brethren in foreign countries and their powerful means of propaganda.
“It is evident that they take profit of every opportunity to do harm to Roumania and they could not neglect the regrettable events of Cernauti for crying; persecution, anti-Semitism, pogroms, etc., especially after the brilliant reception with which the Queen of Roumania was welcomed in the United States. They are certainly afraid of seeing American sympathy towards Roumania increasing and look after a way to stop it.
“I think it is useless for us to discuss the question, as we start from different points of view, you considering the statement of the Roumanian Government untrue and I looking upon the news spread by the Bolsheviks news agents of Vienna, Budapest and Berlin as base calumny.”
Following the receipt of this letter, Mr. Wolfson published the following open letter:
“I have read with indignation your communication of the 19th inst. I have noted with amazement, that instead of expressing your interest in the sufferings inflicted upon the Jews in Roumania, you are pleased to indulge in hackneyed assertions which are at variance with the facts as they are known to be. You choose to ignore the specific allegations with reference to the murder of the student, Falick, at Cernauti, the pogrom in Chishanau and Calarasi, the beatings, maimings, window smashing, pillaging and even the desecration of synagogues, which have recently taken place, and have been going on for almost a year, and you content yourself with questioning my authority to speak on behalf of the Roumanian Jews in America. I assure you that every Roumanian Jew in the United States, and every patriotic Roumanian, fully approves of my attitude. They all resent the treatment the Jews receive at the hands of the Roumanian government and keenly feel the shame which is being brought upon the name of Roumania, by the very people whose duty it is to safeguard and protect it. More than that, every Jew in America, and all of the leading Jewish organizations, are completely in accord with the protest I have uttered and the views I have expressed to you in my previous communication. Some of them have issued their own protests and the others will, no doubt, do so in the future.
“I resent your statement that because of my protest you consider that the Roumanian Jews have lost every feeling for Roumania. Let me say to you, that neither you nor any governments of Roumania, can estrange Roumania from our hearts. In spite of the persecutions and oppression of which we and our brethren have been the victims we have carried with us for years and years an abiding love for the country of our birth. The land is as dear to us as it is to you, for we have sanctified it with our blood and our dear ones are buried in its bosom. Our protests have never been directed against Roumiana or her people, but against that group of small, selfish, dwarf-like politicians who govern, bleed and shame Roumania before the world. Roumania has never suffered by reason of anything we have done her, but has suffered and will continue to suffer from the acts of commission and omission on the part of those who are responsible for her misrule within and misrepresentation abroad.
“You attempt to whitewash your government and claim that peace and order reign in the country. Read the Roumanian newspapers and you will see that they are full with gruesome details of beatings of Jews on the trains, on the railway stations, and streets; of beatings of Jewish students in the faculty halls and class rooms in the universities; of the insults heaped upon the Jews in the Roumanian parliament. This has been going on for months and months and the government has done nothing to stop these outrages. Let me quote to you from an editorial of the leading newspaper ‘Dimineatz.’
“‘If the Minister of the Interior, honestly desires peace in the country, it is his duty to say clearly, that the arm of the law will fall upon any one who provokes disorders. Otherwise there will be a repetition of what took place the other day. While the Minister was prattling from the restrum in the Chamber, in Chishanau, groups of marauders were smashing windows and beating up people. On the trains, peaceful citizens were maimed from beatings. In the capital Jewish students were beaten in the class rooms. Is this the kind of peace the Minister is dreaming of?’
“I am sending you a photostatic copy of the editorial. I repeat the acts of violence against the persons and property of the Jews, the constant violation of their rights as human beings and citizens, is solely due to the policy of the government and its deliberate failure to give the Jews the proper and due protection under the laws.
“Your belabored attempt to show that our just complaints amount to a Jewish persecution of Roumania, is so obviously absurd as to need no further comment. Equally absurd is your frantic waving of the red flag in the form of long exploded cry of Bolshevik propaganda. All perplexed anti-Semites and helpless reactionaries, all the infamous knights of the swastika, when unable to justify their own gross, crying misdeeds and injustices seek to make the Jews the scapegoat. In fact it is known by this time, that the Bolshevik propaganda bogey, is generally used by men and governments with sinister purposes who try to cover up their own dark deeds and questionable practices. All that we have done is to raise our voices in protest against the iniquities of the Roumanian Government in its dealings with Jews and rights of Jews, its failure to do its duty, and its direct and indirect participation in the outrages against the Jews. We stand by every charge we have made. To cover up the indefensible acts of your government you have stooped to make base and groundless charges against the Jews and you have wantonly insulted a large number of American citizens.
“I have turned over your letter to the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Committee. These representative bodies of Jews, engaged in the defense of the oppressed and persecuted minorities, will no doubt deal with the same and take such action as they may deem necessary under the circumstances.”