NEW YORK (May. 18)
Every Jew in Rumania is in danger of arrest and long imprisonment as a result of the “cruel prison sentences” given scores of leaders of Rumania Jewry for Zionist and communal activities, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, warned today at a press conference held in Congress House here. Dr. Goldmann is also chairman of the Jewish Agency and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
“If the persons convicted are guilty of crimes,” he emphasized, “every Jew in Rumania who was at one time identified with either the Zionist movement, the World Congress or any other Jewish organization abroad–and virtually every Jew had such connections–must live in daily fear of sharing personally the fate of his leaders.”
“The implications of the precipitous arrests of the leaders of Rumanian Jewry, the sham trials and cruel sentences which followed, are such as to strike terror in the heart of every individual Jew in Rumania and serve to underscore the sad plight of Rumanian Jewry,” Dr. Goldmann declared.
WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS ISSUES “WHITE PAPER” ON RUMANIA
Dr. Goldmann’s charges were documented by a “White Paper” on the pattern of liquidation of Jewish communal life by Rumania’s Communist regime. The paper, prepared by the World Jewish Congress, revealed that for four years some 150 Jewish leaders had been jailed and held incommunicado and forced to accept Communist-appointed counsel. Recently some 46 Jewish leaders received harsh prison sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment. Also that non-verified reports mention the arrest of at least 200 other Jews.
Those arrested and imprisoned have been charged with engaging in Zionist activities, with encouraging and assisting Jews to emigrate from Rumania, with establishing and maintaining contacts with the Israel legation and with the World Jewish Congress, and distributing relief funds received from Jews abroad.
Dr. Goldmann pointed out that at the time the defendants were engaged in Zionist activities “they were engaged in conduct which was unequivocally legal and which had either the expressed or tacit approval of the Rumanian Government.”
“With respect to Zionism, ” he went on, “it need only be recalled that at the end of 1945, the Rumanian Minister of the Interior reaffirmed the legality of Zionism in Rumania. This declaration asserted that the Zionist movement was a legally constituted body enjoying the same rights as all other groups.”
This was no less true of the close and fraternal relations which Rumanian Jewry rapidly re-established with their fellow Jews abroad, after Rumania emerged from the darkness of the Hitler period, Dr. Goldmann declared.
“It is apparent that the trials of the leaders of Rumanian Jewry is a mere facade, designed to conceal the real aim of the Rumanian authorities which is to obliterate the last vestiges of spiritual autonomy of the Jewish community and to cut off all contact between Jews of Rumania and their fellow Jews in other parts of the world.”
Asserting that the Jewish people will not accept the decisions of the Rumanian authorities which, in effect, spell the valedictory for Rumanian Jewry, and because these decisions are both savage and indecent, Dr. Goldmann urged the civilized world to speak up “until Rumania recants for its calloused treatment of the leaders of Rumanian Jewry and restores to these leaders their freedom and opportunity of work in the interests of their fellow Jews.”
The “White Paper” estimates the present Jewish population of Rumania to be about 400,000. Losses under the Nazi regime were about 350, 000 dead, and over $1,000, 000,000 in assets. It is also estimated that some 150, 000 Jews had left Rumania for Israel.