Clash Between Dr. Filderman and Dr. Ebner over Question of Funds Raised for Victims of Borsha Fire.
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Clash Between Dr. Filderman and Dr. Ebner over Question of Funds Raised for Victims of Borsha Fire.

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A serious conflict has broken out between ex-Deputy Dr. Filderman, the President of the Union of Roumanian Jews, and ex-Senator Dr. Mayer Ebner, the leader of the Jewish Nationalist Party, and editor of the “Ostjuedische Zeitung” of Czernowitz.

The “Curierul Israelite” has published a formal notification addressed by Dr. Filderman to the publisher and editor of the “Ost-Juedische Zeitung”, Dr. Ebner, in connection with an allegation which appeared in the “Ost-Juedische Zeitung” that the Union of Roumanian Jews has not given up certain monies which were sent to it for the purpose of the relief work in Borsha after the fire which occurred there in the summer of 1930. Dr. Filderman demanded that Dr. Ebnor should in the next issue of the “Ost-Juedische Zeitung”retract the charge which was made in the issue of the paper dated November 25th., that foreign organisations had on Dr. Filderman’s initiative and request sent him funds for assisting the victims of the Borsha fire, that Dr. Filderman had deposited these funds with a bank, the effect of which was to help the banker and not the victims, that Dr. Filderman had refused to hand over these funds to the victims of the Borsha fire, that he had taken the funds out of the control of the people for whom they were raised, and instead of using them for philanthropic purposes had used them for political purposes, or else that Dr. Edner should publish the names of the organisations and people inside the country and abroad from whom the Union of Roumanian Jews, or Dr. Filderman personally, asked for or received money for Borsha in any shape or form.

If Dr. Ebner does not do this, Dr. Filderman writer, he will take legal action against him before the Bucharest law court.

Dr. Filderman quotes in his notification a number of articles which appeared in the “Curierul Israelit”, the official organ of the Union of Roumanian Jews, showing that the Union was on principle always opposed to public collections for Borsha, especially from abroad, and that it regarded such action as irreconcilable with the dignity and status of Roumanian Jewry within world Jewry, its attitude being that it was the duty of the Government to compensate the victims of the Borsha fire.

All this, Dr. Filderman says, must have been known to Dr. Ebner from the articles in the “Curierul Israelit”, and therefore his accusation was made when he was in full possession of the facts.


Dr. Ebner now publishes a reply to Dr. Filderman in the “Ost-Juedische Zeitung”, in which he writes:

I am not the author of the article in question, which was written by Deputy Dr. Max Diamant, who has empowered me to reveal his authorship and to say that he is prepared to take full responsibility for the article, which he sent me from Bucharest. Dr. Diamant will ask the Immunity Commission of the Chamber to withdraw his Parliamentary immunity and Dr. Filderman should find it easy with his connections to speed up the process of depriving him of his immunity.

But since Dr. Filderman has denounced me, he continues, I intend to reply to him by producing proofs of the charges, and if he wishes these proofs can be produced in court.

When the fire broke out in Borsha in July 1930 and about 2,000 poor Jews were rendered homeless, the need arose not only of alleviating their distress, but also of rebuilding the devastated Jewish township. This task was taken up on the initiative of the Jewish Parliamentary Club of the time, particularly of Deputy Dr. Joseph Fischer by the Cluj Central Relief Committee, which centralised the Fund collections, applied for help to people inside the country and abroad and with the aid of a contribution from the Government of the time built 150 new houses to replace the 165 that were destroyed, so that to-day all the victims of the fire have new houses provided with fireproof roofs.

Dr. Filderman denies that he or the Union of Roumanian Jews either asked for or received any funds from abroad for the reconstruction of Borsha. We will take Dr. Filderman’s word for that. We believe him when he says that he did not ask for anything from abroad. But we are able, on the other hand, to show that inside the country he carried through collections for Borsha. The “Curierul Israelite”, the organ of the Union of Roumanian Jews, reported on July 14th., 1930) that the Board of the Jewish Community of Bucharest, meeting under the chairmanship of Dr. Filderman (then Vice-President and now President of the Community), and acting on speeches delivered by Dr. Filderman and others, had decided to support a collecting campaign on behalf of the victims of Borsha. The same issue and also the issues of July 20th., 27th., August 3rd., August 31st., October 26th., and other dates published lists of contributors, and if Dr. Filderman asks me to give him a list of contributors I will refer him to the lists published in his own “Curierul Israelite”.

The point is whether the funds which were collected and acknowledged with names and figures in his “Curierul Israelite” were devoted to the purpose for which they were collected – the rebuilding of Borsha? This, we say, has not been done. The “Vocea Noastra”, which appears in Bucharest, reports that at a meeting of the Jewish Community of Bucharest, Advocate Saxone stated that among other funds the relief fund collected for Borsha by the Community was deposited with the Bercovitz Bank, and that this fund had shared the fate of all other deposits in the bank. Dr. Filderman in his reply to Dr. Saxone said that it was only a small matter of a couple of hundred thousand lei. What we want to know is – how much?

The “Juedische Presse”, which appears in Szighet, wrote on November 27th: We want to know where are the 400,000 lei which you collected for Borsha? We are informed in an authentic quarter that Dr. Filderman was visited by a delegation of the Borsha Relief Committee, which demanded from him the sum of 400,000 lei collected for Borsha. Dr.Filderman was astounded to find that the money had not yet been sent off. Dr. Filderman went to the telephone in a state of great excitement, did a lot of telephoning, and it seems that his conversations are not yet finished.

The fact is, Dr. Ebner concludes, that the relief fund for Borsha collected on the initiative of Dr. Filderman by the Bucharest Jewish Community, of which he is President, has to be considered lost, solely for the reason that Dr. Filderman, as head of the Community and as initiator of the fund left it to the Beroovitz Bank, where he deposited it to arrange for paying out the money to the Central Committee in Cluj. And another point, he adds, is that the rebuilding work in Borsha was carried out in the summer of 1931, when things were still in order in the Bercovitz Bank. This is my answer, he says, to the notification.

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