Czernowitz (Jun. 12)
Ex-Senator Dr. Mayer Ebner, one of the leaders of the Jewish National Party, and Dr. Manfred Reifer, one of the Deputies of the Party, have visited in the Jewish Hospital here Same on Bronstein, of Jedinetz, in Bessarabia, who was terribly tortured by the local gendarmerie who had accused him of being a Communist.
It is true, Deputy Ebnerasays, describing his visit to Bronstein, that in Bessarabia not only Jews but poor peasants, too, are beaten and tortured if they are suspected of Communist sympathies. Bronstein was subjected to torture because there was a charge against him of Communist propaganda, since disproved, but the savage way in which the gendarmes treated him makes one feel that they let loose on him all their hatred of Jews.
Terribly weakened by loss of blood and suffering torments of thirst, Bronstein was tantalised by a saucer-ful of water being placed to his lips and withdrawn with mocking laughter as soon as he attempted to sip it. His bloodstained clothes still show the tears and holes made by the hobnailed boots of the soldiers who danced about his breast and body. His feet are like stumps. He was bound with ropes and chains, and the marks are still plainly seen on his body, and he was twisted into a coil of bones and flesh, and spun round like a human catharine-wheel. He was beaten on the soles of the feet until the skin was flayed off, and salt and vinegar were put on his bleeding wounds. Then he was released from his chains, and told to dance on his injured stumps. He collapsed.
While Deputy Dr. Reifer and I were talking with him, his wife came into the hospital, a young woman with grey hair. In the three days that he had been lying in the Bessarabian hospital, between life and death, she turned grey.
When the captain of the gendarmerie of Jedinetz, who was in command of the torturing of Bronstein had slept it over, he had the insolence to go to his victim, stroke his cheek, and ask him not to go to law, offering him a considreable sum as a bribe. Bronstein refused to hear of it. The authorities were informed, and the public demands that the Czernowitz Procurator-General Alexandru, should do something drastic, because it will not be satisfied if this captain gets off with disciplinary punishment only.
We demand adequate punishment to fit the crime.
Communist beliefs, if they are not translated into action, are no crime, Dr. Ebner says. And even Communists who engage in illegal propaganda are not to be left to the mercy of the gendarmes or the soldiery who arrest them. They must be handed over for trial before a judge. Greater Roumania has a place in the concert of civilised nations, and it must not resort to methods of barbarism.
The case of Samson Bronstein must not be allowed to become a European scandal, Dr. Ebner concludes. It is the duty of the new Government, of the Minister of Justice and of the Minister of War, to watch over the honour of our country, and to see to it that if such an outrage occurs, the guilty persons are propenly punished.