Silently and in a diplomatic manner the Rumanian authorities yesterday practically gave in to the demand of Dr. Vaida-Voevod, the anti-Semitic ex-premier, that restrictions against Jewish students be introduced in medical and law colleges, as well as in technical and commercial institutes.
To cover up the specific anti-Jewish character of the restrictions, the Conference of University Rectors which took place Wednesday in Bucharest, announced that the restrictions will be of a general nature.
“The radical cut in the number of students was deemed absolutely necessary,” the announcement of the Conference explained.
It is clear, however, that this “radical cut” is aimed not at Rumanians but against students of national minorities and chiefly against Jews.
It is for this “radical cut” that Dr. Vaida-Voevod has been fighting for the last year. It is for this “radical cut” that anti-Semitic students have conducted riots in the Bucharest University. It is for this “cut” that the National Peasants Party has expelled Dr. Vaida-Voevod, one of its former leaders, from the ranks of the party.
Now, Dr. Angelscu, the Rumanian Minister of Education, in presiding yesterday over the conference of University Rectors, made it clear that the “drastic cut” demanded by Dr. Vaida-Voevod for students of national minorities is in the interests of the country. Jewish protests or no Jewish protests, a radical curtailment of the number of students in the Rumanian universities had to be made.
WORSE THAN NUMERUS CLAUSUS
It is therefore small wonder that the Jews in Rumania as well as the other national minorities there are greatly perturbed at the decision adopted yesterday by the rectors. This decision is worse than a numerous clausus. It actually authorizes the rectors of the universities to reduce the number of national minorities students to an unlimited minimum.
The selection of students in the Rumanian universities and colleges under yesterday’s decision, will be on the basis of intellectual ability. This again opens wide possibilities for the rectors of the universities to reject any applicant they wish, since the term “intellectual ability” is open to all kinds of interpretations.
It appears that Dr. Vaida-Voevod, who fought for this restriction, was aware of the decision of the university rectors several days before it was adopted. This explains why he suddenly came out yesterday with a statement for foreign journalists that his movement “is not anti-Semitic, nor anti-foreign,” and that “it is a mistake to think” that the actual object of his movement is to rid the country of Jews and non-Rumanians.
While giving assurance that he is not anti-Jewish, Dr. Vaida-Voevod nevertheless did not miss the opportunity to point out to the foreign journalists that “the Jews and other minority races in Rumania hold the majority of the best positions in trade and industry.” How this last remark can be uttered in the same breath with the assurance of his not being anti-Jewish, is probably known only to Vaida-Voevod himself.