until 1927, when the Liberals were forced out.
BECOMES LIBERAL LEADER
With the death of Vintila Bratianu and the retirement of his brother Jon, Dr. Duca became the acknowledged leader of the Liberal party. The party had lost most of its strength and was in disfavor with King Carol, whom Bratianu’s followers had opposed bitterly. But Dr. Duca set to work to reconstruct the Liberal party and to gain the confidence of the King. At that time it seemed an impossible task. Dr. Julius Maniu, leader of the National Peasant Party, which had consented to the return of King Carol to the throne, was premier and seemed to have the complete confidence of the king.
But as time went on, Dr. Maniu lost favor and the political situation involving the growth of the anti-Semitic parties in Roumania which were stimulated by the Hitlerite victory in Germany, brought about an invitation to Dr. Duca to form a Ministry which should stem the tide of Hitlerite anti-Semitism that was sweeping over Roumania.
On November 14 of this year, Dr. Duca was asked by King Carol to form a Liberal government. One of the first announcements made by the new Premier immediately after taking office was a decree ordering officials to suppress anti-Semitism in Roumania. Four days after he came into power, Premier Duca ordered the dissolution of the Iron Guard, Roumanian anti-Semitic party.
FEARLESS OF THREATS
Codreanu, leader of the Iron Guard, announced in his paper, Garda, that any attempt to suppress his organization would be met by a terroristic campaign. However, the Premier paid no attention to this and other threats against his life. The Iron Guard was dissolved and Codreanu fled, disguised as a woman. Dr. Duca’s party called for a general election and received more than fifty percent of the total vote which, under Roumanian law, entitled the Liberal party to two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.
Dr. Duca was known in Roumania as a friend of the Jews and it was largely due to his influence that an election pact was concluded between the Liberal party and the Union of Roumanian Jews, headed by Dr. William H. Fildermann.
He also maintained friendly contacts with Jewish organizations abroad, particularly with the American Jewish Committee. Dr. Duca was a close friend of the late Lucien Wolf, at that time head of the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Associations.
A FRIEND OF JEWS
Dr. Duca was Minister of the Interior during the time of the severe anti-Jewish outbreaks in Oradea Mare, Roumania, but he adopted vigorous measures by which punishment was meted out to many of the anti-Semites and compensation was paid to the Jewish victims.
Some years ago in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Duca admitted that during the Liberal regime there were regrettable anti-Semitic outbreaks. “But”, he said, “immediately after the Oradea Mare excesses we took immediate and drastic action. We completely suppressed the anti-Semitic movement.
“The Liberal party,” Dr. Duca declared at the time, “believes that only collaboration and harmony between the various peoples living in the country can assure its progress and prosperity. The Jews are a loyal, law-abiding section of the population, therefore we are for co-operation with them.”
REFUGEES RECEIVE POSTS IN PALESTINE HOSPITALS
Thirty-five German Jewish refugee physicians now in Palestine have received appointments or permission to do post-graduate study in hospitals maintained or subsidized by the Hadassah medical organization in Palestine, according to word received here by the Hadassah, Women’s Zionist Organization.