“My government is endeavoring to inaugurate in Roumania an era of real democracy in which Jews, along with the other elements of the population, are to have an opportunity to develop and advance on an equal basis,” Juliu Maniu, Prime Minister in the Roumanian government, stated to Jacob Landau, Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, in an interview with him.
“Free Roumania sends its greetings to free America,” the Prime Minister said at the outset of his description of the Cabinet’s policy. According to the program proclaimed by the government at the recent Roumanian union celebration held at Alba Julia, a bill for the enactment of a minorities law in Roumania will soon be introduced into parliament. When the law is enacted the opinion of all those, including the Jews, concerned will be sought through a questionnaire, the Prime Minister stated in reply to the question as to whether the Jews in Roumania are regarded as a national or a religious minority. The Jewish leaders are not yet decided among themselves on the question, he said.
Some of the questions which have been agitating Jewish and Roumanian public opinion in recent years were raised during the interview and the Prime Minister expressed his opinion concerning them. Asked about the school situation, with special reference to the action of the previous Liberal government which closed the Jewish schools. Maniu stated that the closing of the Jewish schools by the previous government was not an anti-Semitic act, since all religious and minority schools were closed at the time. If the Jews of Roumania are desirous of opening their own schools they will encounter no difficulties on the part of the government. The government is even prepared to subsidize such schools. An amount of 25,000,000 Lei has been allotted by the government for all minority schools in the coun- (Continued on Page 4)
To the question why the Jewish communities in Roumania receive a subsidy from the government in the amount of 10,000,000 Lei for religious purposes at a time when, in accordance with their proportion to the general population, they are entitled to an allotment of 60,000,000 Lei per annum, the Prime Minster replied: “It all depends which principle is applied, whether it is the proportion of the population, the proportion of the budget of the Jewish institutions in comparison with the budgets of other religious communities, or the principle of participation in the payment of taxes.” The Prime Minister added that in this regard he expects suggestions from Roumanian Jewish leaders. He has, he said, a sincere appreciation of the constructive and valuable participation of the Jews in the development of the country.
Concerning the recent reports that the Roumanian authorities have ordered the dissolution of the local Kehillah boards in various cities, the Prime Minister denied these reports, declaring differences of opinion, leading to controversies between groups, prevail within the Jewish communities and between various Jewish leaders concerning the Kehillah problems. He hopes that the matter will enter a new stage of development after the new communities law will have been promulgated.
The Prime Minister admitted the probability that there are about 200,000 Jews in Bukowina who were not granted Roumanian citizenship and are therefore in the status of “men without a country” suffering much hardship from this. He explained, however, that this was not due to anti-Semitism. The general regulations obtaining in those districts complicate naturalization proceedings, but they are applicable to Jews and non-Jews alike. He expressed the hope that the new citizenship law will offer greater facilities for naturalization and will solve many of these problems.
The Prime Minister pointed out, not without satisfaction, that since his government is in power no anti-Semitic student disturbances occurred in Roumania. This is further proof of the maxim that freedom and order go well together. He made this statement in reply to the question whether there was any truth in the report that his government permitted the reopening of the Roumanian student organizations which were closed by the previous Liberal government. The Prime Minster admitted that this was the fact, but explained that the dissolution of the students organizations by his predecessor was a reactionary measure. “When we permitted the student organizations to reopen we impressed upon them the fact that we will not stand for any disturbances. Our warning to the students was not a mere phrase but was earnestly meant. There actually have been no disturbances at the universities,” he declared.
In parliament yesterday the Prime Minister was questioned in an interpellation introduced by the Social Democratic deputy, Pistiner. The deputy inquired whether the Prime Minister stands by his statement made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency director that only private minority schools will be subsidized by the government and that the government will not undertake to maintain public schools for the national minorities pupils, as is provided in the Constitution.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.