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Hat Happened in Jassy: Deputy Landau’s Story

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Deputy Michael Landau, who was summoned by telegram from Kishineff to Jassy, when the anti-Jewish excesses broke out, has issued a statement here in which he gives the results of the enquiry which he conducted on the spot.

The Iron Guard in Jassy called a meeting for March 23rd. in connection with the present student movement against the new University regulations, he states. The invitations and placards issued for the meeting could not have suggested that there was anti-Jewish trouble brewing. The authorities, nevertheless, took extensive precautionary measures. A squadron of cavalry was stationed in the square in which the Home of the Iron Guard is situated, and which was the scene of the meeting. About 200 people were at the meeting, the majority non-students. Reinforcement detachments were also brought from Neamt, and all approaches from the Square to the neighbouring business streets were barred. Many high military officers and civilian officials were on the spot. When the meeting was over members of the Iron Guard, followed by a street rabble broke into the synagogue adjoining the Hotel Bejan facing the Iron Guard Home, without any attempt to stop them being made by the very powerful military forces. The vandals proceeded to demolish the synagogue. The windows were

all smashed into thousands of fragments. The window frames were torn out, and broken up. All doors were torn down. The Ark of the Law was broken open. The Scrolls of the Law were torn up and thrown into the streets. The silver ornaments of the Scrolls were stolen. The entire fitting – Almemar and benches – were knocked over and demolished. The police and military and civil officials and their powerful forces stood by all the time and made no attempt to stop the destruction. A clock which was smashed by the vandals indicates that the raid on the synagogue took place at 11.15′ at night.

The mob then stormed the police cordon, and revolvers were fired, with the result that an officer, a non-commissioned officer and 14 men were wounded. Even then the troops who had received instructions from Bucharest to deal leniently with the demonstrators, made no use of their arms, and the Iron Guards succeeded in breaking through the police cordon, and entering one of the neighbouring business streets, where they proceeded to demolish the Jewish shops. The Corona Restaurant owned by the Jewish restauratuer, Leibovici, was devastated. The windows in many Jewish shops were smashed. The windows were also smashed in two shops belonging to Christians whose proprietors were mistaken for Jews. The damage is estimated at over 200,000 lei.

Meanwhile some of the rioters who had remained behind, built a bonfire on which they burned the torn shreds of the ten Scrolls of the Law. The authorities and troops stood by watching the auto-da-fe, without taking any action. The day following the desecration of the synagogue, the place was still strewn with bits of charred Scrolls.

THE FACTS IN PARLIAMENT

In his speech in Parliament (already given briefly by cable), Deputy Lanlau said:

I stand on this tribune in the name of the Jewish Parliamentary Party to express the indignation and the grief of the Jewish population of the country, and to demand that effective precautionary measures should be taken so that there should be no possibility of a recurrence of the acts of vandalism committed by the Iron Guard Organisation in Jassy on the night of March 23rd.

People had begun to forget the black deeds done in Oradeo Mare and Cluj in December 1927, Deputy Landau went on. I had thought that such excesses would never again occur in our country. But now the same thing has happened in Jassy.

After describing the devastation which he had witnessed in Jassy, Deputy Landau went on to protest against such medieval persecution of the Jewish religion, which, he said, is not only an affront to the most sacred sentiment of the Jewish population, but is a serious violation of the principles of civilisation, founded on the Old Testament, which has been profaned in Jassy.

Deputy Landau demanded that the Government should investigate what had happened in Jassy, arrest the guilty, and mete out summary punishment to them. He also demanded that the Government should issue a statement condemning what had happened at Jassy, and promising satisfaction to the Jewish population whose most sacred feelings had been outraged.

PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT

The Prime Minister, Professor Jorga, speaking amid applause from the Government benches, said that anyone who endeavoured for any reason to disturb the public peace would find that he had a Government against him which demanded everywhere and from everyone respect for public order.

With regard to the complaint which was now before them, he held that it should be lodged with a sense of responsibility for the general interest, instead of going into long descriptions of misdeeds, with the aim of aggravating the relations between people who were living in the some country and enjoying the same civil rights.

Deputy Landau replied, saying that he was grateful to the Prime Minister for his assurance that drastic measures would be taken to prevent any recurrence of this vandalism. He was anxious to repudiate the suggestion made by the Prime Minister that he had intended in his interpellation something other than to obtain satisfaction for the Jewish population and sanctions to prevent a recurrence of these deplorable events. It is out of a sense of patriotism, he said, that I appeal to the public opinion of our country to demand protection against acts of vandalism which might accord with the standard of civilisation of the Middle Ages, but not of our own day.

IRON GUARD LEADER SHOUTED DOWN WHEN HE ATTEMPTS TO PUT BLAME ON MINISTER OF INTERIOR: UNDER-SECRETARY OF INTERIOR SAYS DEPUTY LANDAU’S DESCRIPTION WAS CORRECT AND GUILTY WERE MEMBERS OF IRON GUARD

Deputy Zelea Codreanu, the leader of the Iron Guard, began by asserting that the blame for all the student disturbances lay with the new student regulations and with the Minister of the Interior, M. {SPAN}###rgetoianu{/SPAN}, and his Under-Secretary, M. Ottescu. At this point there was an outbreak of interruption, in which Deputy Codreanu could not make himself heard, and he sat down.

The Under-Secretary for the Interior, M. Ottescu, replying to an interjection by a Deputy, said that Deputy Landau had described correctly what had happened, and that it was true also that the guilty persons were members of the Iron Guard.

Deputy Professor Mircea-Djuvara and Deputy Professor Bogdan-Duica, both members of the Liberal Party, followed, both speaking in strong condemnation of the Jassy excesses. Professor Bogdan-Duica, himself a former antisemitic leader, said that he did not regret what he had written on previous occasions. Those had been other times. No one has a right to attack a religion or religious institutions, he said. The Iron Guard is an organisation of immature and irresponsible people.

When Deputy Codreanu made another attempt to speak, he was stopped by the Presidium of the Chamber and the members of the Government majority. There was a tremendous uproar, and the session had to be suspended for some time.

CHIEF RABBI NIEMIROVER’S SPEECH IN THE SENATE

In the Senate, Chief Rabbi Senator Dr. Niemirover, speaking on the same day, said that as the representative of the Mosaic religion, it was his painful duty to inform the House of the fact that in Jassy, Scrolls of the Law had been burned. These Scrolls were the foundation of the Mosaic

religion, were sacred to all mankind, and contained ethical teachings which were the basis of civilisation. Scrolls of the Law, the most sacred symbol of one of the religions recognised by the Roumanian State, had been put to the flames. Not only the feelings of Jews were violated by this vandalistic destruction of their sanctities, but the best of the Roumanian were ashamed that such barbarism was possible in their Roumanian land. Not only as a Jew, bowed with anguish, but also as a Roumanian citizen, to whom the honour of our Roumanian fatherland is dear, he said, I protest against this sacrilege, which at the same time is a crime against the honour of the Roumanian people, and of the Roumanian State. In this sad moment, he concluded, it is some consolation to me to know that the Government, the Parliament and the entire Roumanian people condemn this diabolical act which has been committed at Jassy, and share the anguish and sorrow of the Jewish population of Roumania.

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