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Are Roumanian Jews Roumanians or a National Minority?: Discussion over Order by Premier Teat Jew Sho

March 22, 1932
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Prime Minister, Professor Jorga, has sent instructions to the Ministry of Justice that Jews are no longer to be permitted to change their names by adopting Roumanian forms, the Bucharest daily “Dimineatza” states. The order issued by the Prime Minister bears the Number 1161, it says, and declares that henceforth all applications made by Jews intending to change their names are to be returned to them and that in future only applications made by Roumanians for changing their names are to be considered.

We know that Professor Jorga does not agree that there are various categories of citizens, the “Dimineatza” comments. With regard to the Jews, he has repeatedly and unambiguously declared that they are not a minority. What then are the Jews? If they are not a minority, they are Roumanians. How can the Prime Minister then provide for different treatment for Roumanians and for Jews? Since the Government does not consider the Jews a minority, it must do everything possible to promote the efforts of the Jews to come closer to the Roumanian people, so why this order to prevent them adopting names which will make them more Roumanian? There seems to be a contradiction somewhere, if on the one hand the Jews are to be prevented from Roumanianising their names, and on the other they are to be denied their rights as a minority.

A great deal of discussion has also been roused by the statement made by the Prime Minister, Professor Jorga, in the Senate last week (reported in the J.T.A. Bulletin of the 18th. inst.), that students at the Universities must not

organise on national lines. Jewish Nationalist circles are perturbed, fearing that the Jewish Nationalist students will be prohibited now from forming organisations to engage in Jewish national cultural activities.

M. Ghika Popp, who was a member of the Maniu Government, has taken up the question in the “Adeverul”. The right of students belonging to the national minorities to organise on national lines, he writes, is only one of the provisions constituting the general right of the minorities, which is recognised in almost all States, to organise on national lines. The students belonging to the minorities must not be hindered in their efforts to develop their own language, literature and culture. In the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Roumanian students had the right to organise in Roumanian student bodies, and they made us of that right. At the University of Graz there was the Carmen Sylva students’ organisation; in Vienna there was the Romania juna; in Budapest the Petru Maior, and at Czernowitz University there were numerous Roumanian student bodies. The minorities in Roumania, M. Popp contends, must not be treated differently in this regard from the way in which Roumanians were treated in Austro-Hungary.

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