BUCHAREST (Nov. 7)
“The high point in the anti-Jewish policy of our country is past and the Jews can expect only improvement in their situation,” this correspondent was told by Prof. Silviu Dragomir, Rumanian Minister for National Minorities.
In an interview in his chambers, the Minister disclosed that a central Jewish body, recognized by the Government as the legal representative of the million Rumanian Jews visa-vis the Government, would soon be established, headed by Chief Rabbi Jakob Niemirower Dr. Theodor Fischer and other Jewish leaders, with whom Prof. Dragomir was now completing negotiations.
He admitted, however, that economic, social and legal discriminations were still going on in Rumania in full force and that liquor licenses revoked from Jews were not being returned to them. Similarly, the revocation of citizenship is being continued and will, according to Prof. Dragomir’s estimate, affect a minimum of 120,000 Jews.
He explained that relaxation of anti-Jewish measures was not possible as long as the Government had not yet completed its thorough cleaning of the country from anti-Semitic Iron Guard conspirators because any pro-Jewish step would be utilized by Iron Guard remnant for propaganda against the Government.
A measure having particularly harsh effect is the imposition of a special tax upon all those Jews who have been deprived of their citizenship. Each must pay from 500 to 10,000 lei in extra annual taxes, depending on the locality in which he lives and on his former trade. As they are not permitted to work and can hardly earn enough for bare necessities, they are naturally not in a position to meet this special tax.
The burden of paying these taxes is therefore falling on the local Jewish communities. In cases where the communities cannot pay the taxes the individuals are severely punished. Cases are on record where Jewish women in this category were dragged out of homes for the aged and were arrested, despite the fact that their living in a poorhouse indicated inability to pay taxes.
All Jews have been eliminated from the executive bodies of law chambers and difficulties are being made for Jews in the artisans’ chambers in acquiring artisans’ cards, without which they cannot work.
Called up for military reserve service, thousands of Jews are now in reserve camps, but none of them is advanced to officers’ rank, although many Bulgarians, Greeks and members of other minorities receive such advancement.
On the other hand, the Rumanian railways, short of engineers, are beginning to employ Jewish engineers, and this correspondent learns that a Government order was issued quietly to reinstate the Jewish firms in the official commercial register, thus annulling previous instructions to chambers of commerce to strike certain Jewish traders off their lists. The latter order, although issued apparently because of a marked reduction in tax income resulting from the ousting of Jews from trade, will spell relief to many Jewish enterprises.
Prof. Dragomir, revealing that he had started on a tour of inspection through Bukovina and other parts of Rumania to establish the extent to which local authorities were overstepping the restrictions concerning revocation of liquor licenses from Jewish restaurants and wine dealers, assured this correspondent that although the revoked licenses were not being restored, Jews deprived of them were given permission to continue their wine sales by obtaining licenses in the names of Rumanians.
“We have come to the conclusion that our wine trade needs the Jewish dealers, but we ask the Jews for the time being to have patience,” he said. “We have not completed as yet our fight with the Iron Guard and we cannot take steps which would be taken up by the Iron Guardists to denounce us as a ‘pro-Jewish Government’.”