Iron Guards Speed Seizure of Jewish Firms; 90% Liquidated
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Iron Guards Speed Seizure of Jewish Firms; 90% Liquidated

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“The Jews of Rumania will be allowed to live,” Premier Ion Antonescu declared in an interview last September with the correspondent of the Italian newspaper La Stampa. Since then the regime of which Antonescu is nominally the chief has made it impossible for Jews to make a living of any sort whatever.

All but an estimated ten per cent of the Jewish businessmen in Rumania have been forced to surrender their businesses to the Green Shirts or their friends. The remaining ten per cent, it is expected, will be liquidated within the next few weeks.

In Constanza, Rumania’s main seaport, all Jews were ordered to appear at the Chamber of Commerce during Christmas week and sign documents turning over their stores and businesses to persons designated by the Iron Guard. When one Jew asked what would happen if he failed to comply, the Green Shirt director replied: “The Black Sea is big and silent.”

Though it does not appear that Jews have been thrown into the Black Sea, it is definitely known that many have been beaten for attempting to hinder the liquidation, which by New Years was complete.

Meanwhile, all Jews of any means, whatever their occupation, have been forced, literally at pistol point, to “donate” their entire savings to the Legionary Aid — the welfare organization maintained by the Iron Guard for the benefit of workers and peasants willing to join the Green Shirts.

Poor Jews — hucksters, shoemakers, tailors and peasants — have been liquidated just as ruthlessly as businessmen. Naturally, their present situation is even worse since they have neither friends nor financial reserves to fall back upon.

Unable to earn enough to keep alive, these unfortunates have been flooding the canteens maintained by the Jewish communities of Bucharest, Constanza, Galatz and other centers, waiting in long lines not only for food but for firewood in order to keep from freezing in the severe weather which has been aggravating all of Rumania’s many social problems.

An estimated 15,000 Jews in Bucharest alone face starvation. The overtaxed resources of the Jewish community there are insufficient to supply enough food to feed more than a part of the destitute applying for aid. And their number is increasing daily.

Nor, despite the enormous demands, has the community been able to furnish enough firewood to last two weeks. Blizzards which are raging through the country have thoroughly tied up all transport not already devoted to bringing in German troops.

Meanwhile, to add to their problems, Jews are not being forced to lodge from one to six German officers in their homes. By Sunday night every Jewish family in Bucharest had received a copy of the following notice from the Prefecture of Police: “Notice…. in conformance with Order 21, 124, January 3, 1941, of the General Staff….John Doe, X Street, is hereby ordered to prepare immediately X rooms, herewith requisitioned, complete with beds and all necessary linens and furniture, for the lodging of German officers….”

Meanwhile, the headquarters of the Jewish community, all Jewish schools, synagogues and hospitals, as well as factories and warehouses not used by the Government for vital industries, have been requisitioned en masse to be converted into barracks for German soldiers.

As Jewish real estate in Bucharest can not furnish sufficient “Lebensraum” to house all the troops expected, the military command has already begun to requisition Christian schools, hospitals and public buildings in order to provide quarters for an estimated 50,000 Germans who will be garrisoned in Bucharest henceforth.


The arrival of the Germans in Rumania accentuates the tremendous housing shortage arising from the influx of refugees from territories ceded to Hungary and Russia and from areas devastated by the earthquake, which rendered 200,000 persons homeless. Bucharest’s normal population of 650,000 has already been increased, by the most conservative estimates, to 1,000,000.

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