Rumanian Decree on Restoration of Jewish Rights Evokes Strong Criticism

Rumanian Jewish leaders today expressed dissatisfaction with the decree issued by the Rumanian Government abolishing racial laws, reinstating dismissed Jewish employees and professionals, and returning confiscated Jewish property.

Criticism of the decree, which was promulgated by the Rumanian cabinet last Friday and the full text of which was made public today, was voiced by Dr. William Filderman, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities. He pointed out that a previous draft of the law suggested the immediate and automatic reinstatement of all ousted Jewish employees and also provided that the government compensate them for the four years during which they were out of work, while the present law retains all Rumanian employees in their posts and, Dr. Filderman alleged, gives employers an opportunity of refusing to accept dismissed Jewish employees.

“The new decree,” Dr. Filderman stated to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, “does not actually abolish the racial laws. It does not really restore rights to Jews. It only provides favors from the state. Under a previous draft of the law the state was to pay indemnities to Jewish real estate owners and tenants who were ejected from their homes. The present decree provides that such indemnities be paid only after the war, which means refusing payment.”

“We are not asking the government for charity,” Dr. Filderman continued. “We want ousted Jewish employees to get employment and to make a living. We also desire that Jews receive compensation for the property that was taken away from them.”

DECREE GUARANTEES EQUALITY FOR ALL CITIZENS, GOVERNMENT SAYS

The text of the decree is prefaced with an introduction prepared by Minister of Justice Lucretiu Patrascanu, who drafted the measure. The introductory paragraph points out that the decree is “the realization of the constitutional principle of the equality of all citizens, without differences based on ethnic origin, religion, or language”.The measure provides.

1. Jewish civil servants discharged by the previous regime will be reinstated upon their filing a request within 45 days after promulgation of the law. They will have all rights dating from the day of their dismissal. State employees who resigned between Jan. 1, 1938 and Aug. 23, 1944 are also covered by the above regulation. Salaries will be paid those applying for reinstatement from the date they file their application.

2. Private employers are obliged to re-employ Jewish employees dismissed after Dec. 1, 1940. Requests for reinstatement should be made within 20 days of promulgation of the decree; and employers must reinstate applicants within 35 days after their requests are filed, granting them all rights enjoyed prior to their dismissal.

3. A joint commission of the Ministry of Labor and representatives of employers and employees will supervise the reinstatements, taking into consideration the capacity of the business, and giving priority on immediate reemployment to those earning small salaries, persons without any other income, former prisoners in concentration camps, persons deported for racial reasons and those with large families. Employees who cannot be reinstated in their former positions will be guaranteed employment in similar undertakings by the Ministry of Labor.

4. All professional and industrial licenses will be returned to Jews within 15 days after such return is requested. Jews expelled from professional, commercial or industrial associations are automatically reinstated.

5. All property formerly belonging to Jews, which is now owned by the state or in the possession of any purchaser is regarded as always having belonged to the disposed titular owners and is returned to them without any additional legal procedure. Leases held upon property seized from Jews are automatically cancelled with promulgation of the decree.

6. Jews cannot return to buildings owned by them until April, 1945, if the buildings are now occupied by factories, schools, or artisan shops, unless the Jewish owners lived there immediately prior to their deportation or forced transfer elsewhere. The following categories of persons are not required to leave property belonging to Jews before April 23, 1945, unless by special agreement; workers and artisans with a monthly income of less than 30,000 lei, unmarried war widows, invalids, orphans, state employees and institutions of social welfare.

The above regulation, however, does not apply to Jews who fall into the same categories, i. e. Jews earning under 30,000 lei monthly, war widows or orphans. All persons who are now eligible to ask for return of their buildings must do so within two months after promulgation of the decree. Jews who are now outside the country must apply within two months after returning to Rumania.

Divorces of partners in mixed marriages which were obtained between Jan. 1, 1958 and Aug. 23, 1944 are declared null and void under the new decree.

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