Jews in Rumania Terrorized; Reports of Mass-arrests Reach London
Menu JTA Search

Jews in Rumania Terrorized; Reports of Mass-arrests Reach London

Download PDF for this date

The Rumanian Government, startled by the number of Jews who registered for emigration last year, has launched a campaign to terrorize Rumanian Jews who have shown a desire to go to Israel, the Times of London reported today.

Noting that 120,000 Jews left Rumania in 1950 and 1951, the Times said at the same time, Rumanian authorities were arresting and sentencing Zionist leaders to varying terms in prison, with some 200 persons involved. The Times reported that “some of these people are now being re-arrested and tried for the offenses for which they have already served sentences.”

Partly because of the unexpectedly large number of Jews who registered when “the Rumanian Government suddenly and without explanation reopened its doors to allow the departure of Jews to Israel,” and partly because of the strength of Arab opposition, the Government stopped the emigration “but the Jews have remained restless.” In response, the Government opened its campaign of arrests and trials on charges of espionage and treason, the Times reported, in a bid “to frighten the Jews into breaking their emotional ties with Israel.”

The Times listed a number of individuals who have been victims of the new campaign

1. Israel Hart, who was employed by the Israel legation as janitor and whose father and sister went to Israel ten years ago, was arrested on charges of espionage.

2. Kalman Bernstein, 60, and his two sons, both engineers, were charged with espionage. The evidence was the contents of letters sent to the Bernsteins by members of their families in Israel. The letters contained descriptions of religious ceremonies with pictures.

3. Efraim Zinger, who had previously been tried and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, was charged with betraying Rumania and the newspaper for which he worked in Kluj when he sent copies of songs he had written to a brother in Israel. Zinger had an extra day added to his sentence because he was seen signaling to his wife to remove her wedding ring, apparently so that she could dissociate herself from him.

4. A large group of Zionist leaders in Transylvania were arrested and were believed still awaiting trial. They included Dr. Ernest Horvath, 70, who served one sentence after being arrested in 1950. Bad health kept him in the prison hospital for most of his term and the new arrest may threaten his life, the Times reported. Re-arrested also was Dr. Leo Fried, who had been general secretary of the Zionist Organization in Transylvania, who served one sentence and emerged from prison suffering from tuberculosis.

Among the Jews arrested in Bucharest, the Times listed Chaim Wurzel whose family was murdered by the Nazis, except for a sister who went to Israel 12 years ago; David Faibash, a Hebrew writer; Schmidt, Schitinovizer, Horowitz and Tabakaru, all Zionist leaders; four employees of the legation, including Israel Hart, and three girls.

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