An affidavit, accusing Captain Panisoara of the gendarme post in Yedinez, Bessarabia of instituting the torture proceedings against him was dictated to the Jewish Deputy, Dr. Manfred Reifer, by Samson Bronstein, Zionist leader of Yedinez, from his sick bed in the Czernowitz Hospital and signed by him. The complete affidavit has just reached this country.
The statement by Bronstein confirms that he was arrested on May 7th, and state that the torture lasted for twelve hours and that twelve more hours elapsed before the gendarmes per mitted him to be removed to a hospital.
The affidavit affirms that Bronstein was the organizer of the Poale Zion organization in Yedinez and asserts that he detests Communism and has never had anything to do with the Communist movement.
Bronstein states that the only question asked of him at the time of his arrest was whether his name was Samson Bronstein. The Roumanian authorities have stated that he was arrested on charges of being a Communist.
Captain Panisoara to whom the statement refers by name has denied any guilt in connection with the torture of Bronstein, but will be held for trial. The Roumanian authorities, in a statement issued on June 22nd, accepting the guilt of Panisoara, announced that he would be transferred as a disciplinary measure, but the transfer has not yet been carried out.
Bronstein’s statement bearing the date of June 13, 1932, reads as follows:
“The patient, Samson Bronstein, born in 1892, in Secureni, Bessarabia, residing in Yedinez, deposes as follows:
“Sunday, May 7th, 1932, at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I was stopped on the street by the Gendarmerie Section Commander in Yedinez, named Pantelia, and the Chief of the State Police Perecu. I was arrested and taken to the Gendarme post where Captain Chotin Panisoara hit me and pulled me into a room. The only question that was asked was whether my name was Samson Bronstein. In the evening the same Captain questioned me for ten minutes and then my hands were chained and I was dragged through several rooms and into a hut where I lay on the ground and the following procedure commenced.
“My feet were tied with ropes, my knees bent and drawn together with my chained hands by means of a rope. A long pole was drawn through the hollow of my knees and I was elevated. Then the following procedure began. I was whirled round and round and the gendarmes standing around hit me continuously. Then I was taken down, and laid on the floor. Two gendarmes placed themselves on my feet and on my breast. One gendarme stood on my chest and another on my stomach. This procedure lasted until seven o’clock in the evening when my bloody feet were placed in buckets of vinegar and following this a mixture of lime and salt were poured over my wounds.
“All this time the Captain of the Gendarmes was urging them on to torture me more and more. At about 1 o’clock in the morning, Dr. Brilliant of the Jewish Hospital was called to me. He made some injections and applied compresses. He insisted that the gendarmes take me to the hospital where my wounds should be attended to. At five o’clock in the morning I was still not taken to the hospital. But some time after noon I was taken by car to the hospital at Trinka, about 16 kilometres from Yedinez, where I remained from the 8th of May until the 5th of June, 1932.
“I must state that I am not a Communist and detest Communism and I never had anything to do with the Communist movement. I am the organizer of the Poale Zion and am President of the section in Yedinez and Secretary of the Zionist group in the same city. At all times during the torture I categorically declared that I have nothing to do with the Communist movement because I am a Zionist,” the affidavit concludes.
The Bronstein case still continues to be the topic of editorial comment.
A number of editorials culled from the Jewish press in this country read as follows:
The “American Israelite” of Cincinnati states:
“The torture of Samson Bronstein, Zionist leader of Bessarabia, Roumania, while unusually brutal even for that unhappy country, would doubtless have escaped public attention were it not for the vigilance of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in discovering and reporting this barbarity an in verifying and finally obtaining an admission of the torture from the Roumanian government after the Roumanian Legation in the United States had branded the original report as “completely invented.”
“Without the Jewish publications throughout the world, however weak and unsatisfactory they may be, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency would be powerless to appeal to the general sense of fairness before which even the most autocratic government must bow.
“Thus is again demonstrated the value and importance of a strong Jewish press, and while it is furthest from our desires to suggest the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Jewish press as possible contenders with the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and the B’nai Brith in the present destructive competition to decide which organization is to be the Chief Champion of our oppressed brethren, we would point out that whatever good they may severally or jointly (may it some day be jointly!) actually accomplish, they must count the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the general Jewish press an important aid.”
Charles H. Joseph in his column, “Random Thoughts,” declares:
“I feel that I owe Jacob Landau, Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an opportunity to announce through this column, that I was wrong when I gave the Roumanian Government the benefit of the doubt in the dispute between the J.T.A. and the government as to the accuracy of the report sent out by the news agency of the torture of Samson Bronstein, Zionist leader in Bessarabia. On May 28th the Bronstein torture was reported by the J.T.A. and the Roumanian Legation replied with the statement that the ‘news is completely invented.’ Now comes the Roumanian Undersecretary of State, M. Tillea, and reports officially that the officials of the village of Chotin, responsible for the torture of Bronstein, have been punished and he further in the name of the government disapproves of the brutalities perpetrated against the Jewish inhabitants in Bessarabia and will do everything in its power to prevent their recurrence. So the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has been vindicated and once more has proven its great value to Jewish life throughout the world. I seriously do not believe much would have been done in the way of corrective measures had not the Agency called attention to the atrocity.”
The “Scribe” of Portland, Oregon, asserts:
“The Bronstein mystery is solved. The Roumanian government, in a statement signed by the Under-Secretary of State, without explaining why Bronstein was tortured and victimized, without even mentioning his name, reports that the prefect of the district of Hotin has been removed and that the chief of the gendarmes’ post, who committed the violence, has been suspended. The same statement also promises that the government will proceed “with the utmost severity against those responsible” and will take ‘all necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of similar excesses.’ “Thus while the J.T.A. may have been inaccurate in the unimportant details of the Bronstein affair, it is today completely vindicated. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has rendered a noteworthy service to Roumanian Jewry and, for that matter, to World Jewry. Its aggressive reaction to the Yedinez events was directly responsible for the disciplinary measures taken by the government in punishing the officials guilty of the gross brutality against Bronstein. The J.T.A. has successfully demonstrated that a Jewish news agency can ofter exercise more pressure on a government than a committee of notables or even a democratic organization. The J.T.A. deserves commendation which we gladly extend.”
The Jewish Guide of Pittsburgh asks the Roumanian government to explain what it means specifically by its promise to “take all necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of similar excesses.”