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Teachers in Rumania

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The Rumanian press recently brought its readers a communication from the Ministry of Education, which desired to make public a series of rulings affecting professors and other instructors, whether in private or confessional schools.

One of the rulings is aimed specifically at the professors and teachers belonging to the various national minority groups. It reads in part:

All professors and teachers of private, public and confessional schools who did not during the month of August of last year submit to re-examination in the Rumanian language or who did not pass such examination will be dismissed from their posts on January first….


A second and more recent notification in the Rumanian press brings the information that of a total of but seven hundred Bukowinian post-office employes who towards the end of last year were forced to undergo special examinations in the Rumanian language, 150 have already been dismissed on the ground that they failed in the tests.

When one takes into consideration the fact that the majority of both the teachers and the post-office employes were once before examined in the Rumanian language and can point—many of them—to from twenty-five to thirty years of service, one can easily imagine the precarious state to which the government employes, all of them members of minority groups, and among them a great many Jews, have been reduced.


The question then arises: What is the purpose of these language examinations and what do they indicate?

And it is not at all difficult to answer the question:

An attempt is being made to find every possible and impossible device for getting rid of government employes who are minority members. But since the minority pacts, which are binding upon Rumania as well as upon other countries, make it exceedingly difficult to oust such minority elements by law, indirect means must be resorted to. One of these indirect means is the evil practice of instituting examination procedures of various kinds.

Another such practice is the so-called “exile” ruling which was used by school authorities a short time ago.


A number of teachers and professors, all of them members of minority groups and most of them Jewish, were informed by the Department of Education one day that within the next few days they were to leave their posts, which some of them had been holding for as long as twenty years and more, and to take up their work in new posts, all of them, curiously, in remote districts of the country.

All pleas on the part of the “exiles” were fruitless. Although they argued that they had been doing their work satisfactorily, although they said they had already established their homes and their families near their present places of service and that their children were going to school there, although they insisted it would be most difficult for them to liquidate their affairs and move their families—or leave their families and go to their new posts alone—the government was adamant.

The result of course was that all those teachers who did not follow the instructions within the specified time were eliminated from the system.

And those who were spared by the “exile” order have now been subjected to the examination nuisance. In this way the career of every teacher and government employe whose fate it is to be one of a minority has been completely ruined.

Thus is has come to pass that in little Bukowina alone some fifty teachers and three times as many post-office employes have been dismissed within a short time.


The matter has aroused the ire of all the minority press. The Cernauti Extrablatt points out that from a legal standpoint alone there is considerable question whether the authorities have the power to dismiss members of the teacher personnel of private schools which are not supported by the government, and which do not even receive subsidies from the official school bodies.

Not even the constitution gives the Minister of Education the power to deprive a teacher of his diploma and his bread, the paper says, calling upon the highest court in the region to rule on the matter.

Protests are also being heard from individuals. Dr. Roth, the German deputy, assails the examinations in the Transylvanian daily, saying that the law provides that teachers who are members of a minority group are not to be examined in Rumania more than once. All teachers and professors took such an examination when it was given in 1924, and the present examination is therefore unjustified, nor is it fair to dismiss persons now who passed years ago, Dr. Roth says.


A particularly strong stand on the question has been taken by Dr. Mayer Ebner, former deputy and senator.

“Our government,” Dr. Ebner writes, “has found ways and means of decimating those minority members who are in the employ of the government.


“How did it do so without running the risk of violating both the law and the existing treaties? Quite simply!

“The discovery is made that many of the government employes, minority members, do not know the Rumanian language, the history of Rumania, or its literature, and although these minority persons have come through examinations more than once, they are constantly being forced to take new ones. This method is not a bad one. It can even survive the control of the League of Nations. For who can deny the right of the State to demand a knowledge of its official language? Yet there must be something wrong, for it cannot be said that the State is suddenly so terribly concerned about grammar.

“No! It is more than a matter of something quite different. It is simply that there is a desire to be rid of the small groups of minority members holding government posts, so that the posts may be turned over to those who belong to the majority.

“True, there are many, many Rumanians who need government jobs. But it would not be right to give them these jobs at the expense of the minority groups. Are not those who belong to the minorities citizens of the country in the same way that the others are? Do they not meet all their obligations to the State in the same way that the others do?”

Dr. Ebner ends his article with an appeal to those at present in power, asking them to treat the minorities with the same consideration as they accord the members of the majority in the nation. If loyalty is demanded of the minorities, Dr. Ebner cautions, loyalty must also be shown them.


The first results of the examinations show clearly that Dr. Ebner’s appeal has been a voice in the desert. For fifty teachers and three times that number of post-office workers have been dismissed from their positions.

As has been said, these are the first results. And who can tell what further surprises the examination system has in store for all those Jews, Poles, Ukrainians and Germans whom fate has chosen to make employes of the government of Rumania?

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