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Rumanian Patriarch Threatens to Resign in Protest Against Massacres of Jews

Patriarch Nikodem, head of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Rumania, which is the leading church in the country, has notified Premier Gen. Antonescu that he intends to resign from his post in protest against the continued massacres of Jews, it was reported here today.

Rumanian newspapers reaching here from Bucharest simultaneously report that all 120 peasant families in the Rumanian village of Kubmarus near Timisoara, have adopted the Jewish faith as a protest against the persecution of the Jews in Rumania. Members of the Sabbatarian sect, the peasants announced that they prefer to share the fate of the persecuted Jews rather than to remain silent in fact of the barbarities inflicted upon the Jewish population.

In reprisal for their action, the Rumanian Government ordered the expulsion of all peasants from the village and the confiscation of their property. The order, according to the Rumanian press, was carried out immediately, and the leaders of the village were sent to a concentration camp and the rest of the peasants were deported to Transnistria, the Axis-occupied Ukrainian territory administered by Rumanian officials.

The report revealing the intention of the Rumanian Patriarch to resign from his post discloses that he has repeatedly appealed to Premier Antonescu against the brutal treatment of the Jews in various sections of Rumania and against the continued Jewish pogroms in Transnistria. His intervention, however, has been ignored, despite the fact that he is the supreme religious leader of the country.

The Rumanian press reaching here today also reports that Titus Dragus, undersecretary in charge of the “Rumanization” of Jewish property, has received special powers from the government to launch a campaign against non-Jews in Rumania who are hindering the “Rumanization process.” These powers were granted to him, one newspaper writes, “because many Rumanians are helping their Jewish friends to retain control over their enterprises by assuming nominal charge of them.” “Dire punishment will be meted out against such pro-Jewish elements,” another paper warns.

While yielding to Nazi pressure for intensified measures against the Jews, the Rumanian Government has issued secret instructions to its officials to see to it that no Jewish property in Rumania comes into possession of Germans, it is reliably learned here. Efforts on the part of the German diplomatic representatives in Bucharest to enable German firms to acquire Jewish enterprises are being quietly sabotaged by the Rumanian offices in charge of registering commercial transactions. The registration of the sale of Jewish property to a German citizen usually meets with such complications and delays that the property is finally acquired by a Rumanian.

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