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Roumanian Jewish Schools Are Doomed by Government Policy Asserts Jewish Deputy

Jewish schools are doomed in Roumania, in spite of all provisions in peace treaties, etc., by systematic policy of the Government which is inimical to every kind of minority school, according to Dr. Manfred Reifer, Jewish Deputy in the Roumanian parliament, in an editorial appearing in the (Czernowitz) “Ostjeudische Zeitung” which has reached this country.

There are, says he, so many conflicts between the parties, and there is but little consistency in the policy of the various Government, but in the fight against the minority schools all are united. Only before elections, a party is favorable to minorities, afterwards it becomes hostile. Press Departments of the Roumanian embassies abroad are very busy trying to spread the belief by propagating some speeches which had been delivered by leaders of the Opposition, that minorities in Roumania enjoy the full protection of the peace treaties. But the truth is far from this.

Ukrainian, German, Polish schools have been abolished by special acts. But, the worst has happened, continues the report, to the Jewish minority. Whatever might be connected with Jewish schools has been systematically destroyed. When there is anything to Roumanize, no laws are permitted to stand in the way. Not a single Jewish middle or elementary school is being subsidized by the State. The repeated demands for a Jewish teachers’ seminary is being entirely ignored, so that in a short time, the Jewish minority will not even have Jewish teachers. The Government is destroying even such private schools as are not subsidized, by making difficult the obtaining of a license. The officials have done their best to Roumanize the existing schools and to wipe out any trace of Jewishness.

As a special instance is described the fate of the so-called Jewish III State Gymnasium in Czernowitz. When this school was declared Jewish in 1918, Jewish professors taught Jewish students. Professors of Roumanian nationality were engaged to teach Roumanian language, history, and geography, since teachers who belong to a minority are not permitted to teach those branches. The Roumanian professors were not pedagogically trained and functioned more as spies than as teachers. Owing to these facts, the number of students decreased gradually from year to year, from 1,350 in 1919 to 271 in 1932. During the same period, the number of classes decreased gradually from 31 to seven. Furthermore, the Jewish professors were transferred to various sections of the land, and replaced by younger Roumanian professors. Last year, the institution was changed into a Gymnasium with four classes, and into the first class, no more than 55 students are being admitted. This the fate of a “Jewish” Gymnasium, which is in truth nonexistent, but is listed abroad as a Jewish school. The principal is a Roumanian, the students are now Jews and non-Jews. By transferring the Jewish professors, the Government has caused trouble, not only to the professors themselves, but has eevn ruined family life and livelihood, because it was not always possible to transfer the other members of the family.

There were, furthermore, many transfers of Jewish professors from Middle schools, Dr. Reifer continues. A law which prohibited the transfers was modified by Jorga so as to permit transfers of teachers of schools which are dissolved. But the restriction is being generally disregarded, and many Jewish professors were transferred from Czernowitz to distant sections; they were at once replaced by Roumanians, sometimes by very poorly qualified younger ones. A statement was made that the transfers were equally applied to Jews and non-Jews, but, while this is formally true, it is a matter of fact that the transferring of non-Jews was never put into effect, whereas the Jews who were concerned vainly fought against the transferring decree.

The Jewish minority is suffering its last pain, since there is nothing left of its minority rights to be taken away.

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