Codreanu Leader of Roumanian Militant Antisemites Returned to Parliament
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Codreanu Leader of Roumanian Militant Antisemites Returned to Parliament

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Zelea Codreanu, the leader of the militant antisemitic Iron Guard Organisation, has been returned to Parliament in the by-election at Noamtz, where a vacancy was created by the appointment of M. Manoilescu, the Minister of Industry, as President of the National Bank.

There are already 11 antisemitic Deputies in the Roumanian Parliament, under the leadership of the notorious Professor Cuza, and the addition of Codreanu, who disputes Cuza’s leadership, complaining that it is not sufficiently aggressive, is viewed with great anxiety by the Roumanian Jews.

In 1925, Zelea Codreanu, who is the son of Professor Codreanu of Jasey, the Vice-President of the Cuzist Organisation, shot dead the Police Prefect of Jassy, M. Manciu, because he had suppressed the antisemitic disorders at the University. The trial which was opened at Fecsanyi had to be transferred to Turn-Severin, where there are few Jews, because it had resolved itself into an antisemitic demonstration against the Jews of Focsanyi. Over 12,000 students and graduates, including 2,437 qualified lawyers arrived there, and sent in applications to be called as witnesses for Codreanu and to defend his action. Jewish houses were broken into and looted, furniture was destroyed, windows smashed, etc. Hardly a Jew in the town which has a Jewish population of about 1,000 families, escaped maltreatment and military had to be brought down to quell the disturbances.

Codreanu’s acquittal at Turn-Severin when the trial was reopened there a couple of months after made him the popular here of the Roumanian antisemitic movement and its recognised leader. He had shot Prefect Manciu, he told the Court, because he and his colleagues had found themselves constantly thwarted by him in their patriotic activities, and finally they had been compelled to suspend their campaign and take the defensive. He had wanted to challenge Manciu to a duel, but could not do so because Manciu was disqualified, so he had shot him.

Professor Cuza, who appeared as a witness, justified the murder by saying that Prefect Manciu had hunted and persecuted the antisemitic students of Jassy, goading them to resentment by his persistent protection of the Jews, until it was natural that a daring young student like Codreanu had been provoked to his desperate act. The fault was that of Manciu and the other police officials for preventing the students from carrying on their justified war against the Jews.

Codreanu was also behind the serious anti-Jewish outbreaks in Roumania last summer, in which the Jewish township of Borsha was burnt down. He was afterwards arrested together with a number of his associates, for holding up to glorification the attempted assassination of the then-Vice-Minister of the Interior, M. Anghelescu, but he was acquitted, and in January, he was again arrested in connection with the attempt to murder M. Socor, the editor of the “Adeverul”, which is constantly protesting against the antisemitic terrorism in Roumania. The police claimed to have discovered a big movement under Codreanu’s leadership, to overthrow the Government by force and establish a dictatorship, which would kill all Jews. This trial, too, however, ended in an acquittal for Codreanu.

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