Rumanian Authorities Detain Number of Jewish Emigrants at Frontier
Menu JTA Search

Rumanian Authorities Detain Number of Jewish Emigrants at Frontier

Download PDF for this date

Two large groups of Jews emigrating from Rumania arrived here by train today. They reported that Rumanian authorities who boarded the trains at the Hungarian frontier had removed a number of the emigrants and had refused to let members of their families disembark to remain with them.

The authorities gave no reasons for their actions and it was not possible today to establish how many of the emigrants–all of whom had been given official laissez-passer documents–had been separated from their families.

The attitude of the Rumanian authorities was considered all the more inexplicable in view of the official position that the emigration of Jews from Rumania was being permitted on humanitarian grounds to permit the reunion of separated families.

The arrivals reported that children had been taken from their parents, fathers from their children and husbands from their wives. One middle-aged woman from Bucharest who arrived here with two small children weepingly reported that her husband had been detained at the frontier.

She had not been able to learn why he had been taken off the train, how long he would be detained or if he ever would be permitted to follow her. When she sought to alight to remain with him, she was told that she had to leave Rumania.


Another couple reported that their adult children had been taken off the train at the frontier station. The elderly parents were not permitted to get off the train to remain with them and had to continue on to Vienna.

Arrivals here described heart-rending scenes at the frontier station as the Rumanian authorities weeded out the men, women and young people who were to be detained. One witness described the scene as girls, on their knees, cried and pleaded with the authorities to let them go with their families.

Among those taken off the trains were veteran Zionists who had spent several years in prison on charges of Zionist activity and who had been released and given exit permits to leave for Israel. A Bukovina engineer, Frederick Ostrer, who had spent four years in prison for Zionist activities, was not molested and arrived here with the group.

Among the arrivals was an elderly couple for whom relatives in France had obtained a French entry permit. They were, apparently, the first Rumanian Jews permitted exit for a destination other than Israel. They told the Jewish Agency officials here, however, that they wanted to go to Israel.

For the first time, too, some of the professional men among today’s arrivals were permitted to bring their university diplomas. Until now, the emigrants were permitted to carry no identity papers whatever except the laissez-passers on which they were travelling.


Information reached the Jewish Agency here today that the Rumanian authorities have requested 15,000 visas from the Israeli Consul in Bucharest during the two weeks and these visas have already been issued. (The emigrating Jews do not apply personally for visas. The Rumanian authorities have been supplying them with a one-way travel document complete with exit visa from Rumania and Israel visa.)

The Rumanian authorities keep the Israel Legation in Bucharest completely isolated from any connection with the migration movement. The Jewish Agency in Vienna, which cares for the Jewish immigrants here, is not informed in advance of the departure of groups from Rumania and learns about them only when they arrive in Hungary en route.

Austrian Minister of the Interior Oskar Helmer declared last night that Austria would keep its gates open to Jews from Rumania to enable their transit to Israel. He noted that Austria had to keep her gates open to refugees from Hungary so that they could emigrate to other countries and announced that Austria intended to do the same now for the Jews from Rumania.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund