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Col. Lytton Ament, Back from Roumania, Starts Campaign to Whitewash Roumanian Government

April 27, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Col. Lytton Gray Ament, back from Roumania where he, accompanied by Mrs. Ament, visited Queen Marie and where he acted as self-styled investigator of the condition of the Jewish population in Bessarabia and Bukowina, has started the campaign to whitewash the Roumanian government, which he announced, while in Roumania, he would do.

The campaign of clearing the name of the Roumanian government from the responsibility resting upon it for the continuous anti-Jewish excesses was started in the "Morning Telegraph", a New York daily which terms itself "America’s authority in theatricals, motion pictures and turf". The paper is published by the Hermis Press Corporation of which Mrs. Lytton Gray Ament, the widow of the late Edward Russell Thomas, owner of the paper, is president.

In a series of five interviews written by Meyer Solmson, the Colonel gives the Roumanian government a "certificate of innocence", denies statements concerning Americans attributed to Queen Marie by a Chicago newspaper and announces to the world that the Jews in Bessarabia and Bukowina are happy. These announcements Col. Ament makes on the basis of his conversations with fifty to sixty Jewish citizens whom he interviewed in the presence of Roumanian government officials. The only dissenter to the declaration of Jewish happiness was Rabbi Zirelson, the aged Jewish leader of Kichineff. Col. Ament admits that his observations were made in an unofficial capacity.

The interviews are accompanied by pictures of Queen Marie and the Roumanian Minister in Washington, George Cretzianu, and appear under the headlines: "Jews in Roumania refute arocities; peace prevails, justice reigns, inquiry shows; tales of antagonism found to be without basis of truth after investigation by Col. Lytton G. Ament; Roumanian Jews give lie to hatred tales."

"The national mission is to unite instead of to divide," said Col. Ament. "Sincerity and honesty in dealing with our foreign neighbors is essential in times of peace as well as in war. I am well aware of the genuine affection that exists between the United States and Roumania.

"I have rubbed elbows with the Roumanian people–its Jews in particular — and I feel that months of close association, diligent inquiry and unofficial observation have fitted me to tell the unvarnished facts of the actual conditions as they exist in the Roumanian country–describing in a detailed way how the Jew fares in his adopted homeland.

"In doing this, as an unbiased American, I am placing myself on a footing of equality with the Roumanian resident. And equality must naturally prepossess frankness. And, in being frank and true, one is healthy.

"Americans read much and believe even more. But by knowing one another better we discard discussions and put our faith in equity–in truth–in justice. When opponents are misinformed or ignorant of each other, conflicts are irredeemable.

"To begin with, it is probably unnecessary for me to say my last visit to Roumania was unofficial in its character. I had some time before tendered my resignation as a government official. I might also state at the beginning that my recent stay in Roumania was not my first visit to that country.

"In 1919, I had occasion, as the Director of the American Relief Administration, European Children’s Fund, to spend seven months there. During that time I visited practically every city of importance in Roumania and had occasion to come in contact with people in every walk of life. I have visited Roumania three times since that time. I feel competent to express an authoritative viewpoint of what has existed and does exist at the present time.

"Having read many stories of atrocities against the Jews in the provinces in Bessarabia and Bukowina in Roumania in American papers, I decided I would go to those places and personally interrogate prominent Jewish leaders and rabbis in order to find out whether the stories printed bore the stamp of truth. I arranged my own itinerary, which included various points in Bessarabia and Bukowina.

"During my visit to the two provinces I personally interviewed approximately fifty to sixty residents, including several rabbis. The persons interviewed by me were of the lower as well as the higher type of Roumanian. All those I interviewed, with one exception, stated to me they were perfectly satisfied with Roumanian rule; that they received justice, that there was no discrimination, that so far as they knew atrocities had not been committed against Jewish residents and that it was their desire for me to say in America that the stories as printed, in their opinion, were in most instances without foundation.

"The exception I refer to was disclosed at a meeting of the Municipal Council at Chisinau in Bessarabia. " This particular incident will be touched upon later.

"However, I did find that there does exist in some of the universities in Roumania a feeling of antagonism between the Roumanian and Jewish students. I am fully convinced that this particular condition is not national in character, due principally to the fact that the Prime Minister of Roumania. General Averescu, has repeatedly stated he will see that equal justice is given Jews in Roumanian universities, as well as in the courts of law. It must be remembered that General Averescu several years ago was personally responsible for more than 200,000 Russian Jews taking up their residence in Roumania.

"There also have been one or two instances which have been construed as atrocities which, in reality, were the acts of individuals of the fanatical type. None of them had any connection with the Roumanian government.

"For illustration, I fully investigated the murder of a man by the name of Falik, a Jew, by a Roumanian named Totu. This tragedy happened in the city of Cernauti and will be fully detailed later.

"I found in many instances that the Jews and Roumanians have affiliated themselves socially and commercially in various localities throughout the provinces visited, and that the friendliest relations exist between them.

"In the interviews which will follow, I will give the names and addresses of many prominent Jews whose standing and veracity is not to be questioned and who have instructed me to say that if my statements are doubted, the American public is at liberty to write to them direct to verify them.

"It is my impression that in general the Jews in Roumania are living a peaceful, happy and contented life, and that most of the agitation so far as they are concerned is not in Roumania. It is my intention to give a true and impartial portrayal of conditions, and I feel certain those who have not ulterior motives will be convinced of the true state of affairs as found by me."

General Abel Davis acted as chairman of the National Social Service Dinner in honor of Dr. John A. Lapp, noted Catholic social worker, held in Chicago Sunday night. Julius Rosenwald was one of the vice-presidents on the arrangement committee. Other prominent Jews on the committee were Dr. Herman M. Adler, Mrs. Samuel Alschuler, Louis M. Cahn, Mrs. Edward D. Loewenthal, Harry L. Lurie and Philip L. Seman.

The Hakoah Soccer Team was defeated Saturday afternoon by a picked team of Philadelphia’s National League at the Sesquicentennial Stadium. The score was 2-1. Ten thousand spectators witnessed the match.

Justice Max Salomon, recently oppointed to the Court of Special Sessions by Mayor Walker, will be guest of honor at a testimonial dinner at the Hotel Commodore on May 3. The Mayor will be the principal speaker and among the others who will be at the guest table will be George W. Olvany, leader of Tammany Hall: Police Commissioner Joseph A. Warren, Charles F. Kerrigan, Assistant to the Mayor: Robert F. Wagner, United States Senator; Judge Max S. Levine, of General Sessions, and District Attorney Joab H. Banton.

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