Deputy Landau to Press Investigation into Shooting of 5 Jews at Soroca Last Year

Deputy Michael Landau, Jewish representative in the Roumanian Parliament, yesterday announced that he will again press for Parliamentary investigation into the shooting, on January 8, 1932, of five young Jews, two of them girls, by Roumanian frontier guards at Soroca.

The five Jews and Jewesses were shot as they were seeking to cross the frontier into Russia. When the brutal killing became public property, the guards, supported by the Ministry of War, alleged that the Jews were Communists and were shot as they were fleeing when halted by the guards.

All these allegations were disproved by investigations conducted by Deputy Landau and by Deputy Mirescu, sent by the Social Democrats in Parliament to investigate the case.

After widespread criticism, Professor Jorga, then Premier of Roumania, repeatedly offered assurances that a government investigation would be carried out and promised the appointment of a Parliamentary Commission.

On March 16th, Jewish representatives in Parliament accused the Roumanian administration of using sabotage tactics in order to prevent the presentation of documents relating to the Soroca excesses to Parliament. The government was accused of dragging the case until the Easter Parliamentary recess in the hope that thereafter the matter would be permitted to drop.

Subsequent events have borne out these allegations, it is now pointed out. Until the present day, the government has done nothing to bring about an impartial investigation to establish the guilt or innocence of the frontier guards, it is asserted.

“Unser Zeit,” Roumanian Jewish publication, airs its grievances in this connection against the National Peasant Party, whose leader, Dr. Juliu Maniu, served as Premier of Roumania, until yesterday, when he resigned.

The paper recalls that the National Peasant Party representatives joined in the condemnation of the Soroca affair at the time of its occurrence and demanded that a government commission be appointed to probe the matter. Nevertheless, when the National Peasant Party came into control of the government, it did nothing in the matter, despite the fact that it is known that the Jews were deliberately trapped and murdered, the paper writes.

The Soroca affair occurred on January 8, 1932, when five Jewish unemployed youths, including two girls, seeking employment in Soviet Russia, attempted to walk across the frozen Dniester to Soviet Russia.

They were led by one Ion Mihalas, who had been recommended to them as specializing in facilitating the crossing of the Dniester. Mihalas, demanded 4,000 lei for payment to a certain Corporal of the Guards, who was to aid the Jews to reach the Frontier. The Jewish youths agreed to pay this sum.

An investigation conducted by independent agencies in Roumania revealed that as soon as the group arrived at a given point, the frontier guards surrounded them, ordered them to lie down and began firing immediately. This report asserted that the Jews were shot at a distance of from five to fifteen metres and were shot in the front, not as they were fleeing, as the Minister of War stated in an official communique, which referred to wounds in the back and side.

One of the group, Tichinovschi, lived for fourteen hours, and in a death-bed declaration made to the public prosecutor of Soroca, corroborated these facts.

Autopsies performed on the bodies indicated that each of the victims was riddled by bullets, many of them being in the face. One of the girls had as many as thirty bullets in her body.

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