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Jerusalem: Encyclopedia Judaica, 1971, ,,TRANSYLVANIA,,, ,,RUMANIA,,

(extracts and notes)

,,Transylvania (Rum. Transilvania or Ardeal; Ger. Siebenbürgen; Hung. Erdély), historic province now forming central Rumania. ... Transylvania has always been a center of routes connecting the orient with the west, and southern Europe with northern Europe. Its location influenced the general development of the region, and in particular Jewish settlement from its beginning.. ... In 1918-19 historic Transylvania and other territories which constitute present Transylvania were transferred from Hungary to Rumania. ... Rumanian anti-Semitism ... also made its appearance in Transylvania. In 1927 pogroms were organized by Rumanian students who had convened in Oradea for their national conference".

N.B. The above description is correct. It is interesting to find that throughout the Hungarian history of Transylvania until 1920, no persecution of the Jews was experienced, although scheming to their disadvantage was noted from time to time.

,,In 1936-37, when the Rumanian Fascist movement, the Iron Guard, formed branches throughout Rumania, centers were established in most Transylvanian towns, particularly in Arad. ... Between the end of 1937 and the beginning of 1938, when the out-spokenly anti-Semitic O. Goga - A.C. Cuza government came to power, Jews, under the direction of the Zionists, formed clandestine self-defence organizations which succeeded in preventing acts of brutality. ... The number of Jews in this period remained approx. 200,000, forming 1,8% of the general population of historic Transylvania. In Aug. 1940, in the second arbitration decision of Vienna, it was decided by Germany and Italy - upon the basis of political considerations of the German Nazis - to incorporate one part of Transylvania into Hungary, while the other remained within Rumania, the parts being known respectively as northern Transylvania and southern Transylvania,,.

N.B. After this correct historical presentation the article describes how during WW II the Jews in southern Transylvania were much better treated than in the Hungarian-held northern part. In this connection mention must be made of several incontrovertible facts recorded by Gerald Reitlinger, well-known Jewish author of a number of books on the Holocaust:

,,In Greater Hungary, as reconstituted between 1939 and 1941, there were seven hundred thousand Jews, more perhaps than had survived in all the remaining countries of occupied and satellite Europe. To some extent the Jews had been persecuted during the past five years of Hungarian rule, but they had not been forced to emigrate. On the contrary, since the opening of Hitler's extermination program in the summer of 1941, the country had provided refuge for Jews from Slovakia, Roumania and Poland,,. (The SS - The Alibi of a Nation, Heinemann, Melbourne, London, Toronto, 1956, p. 350). Consequently, one can't help wondering whether the Jews would have escaped from Rumania to Hungary if they had really been treated better in Rumania than in Hungarian-held northern Transylvania during WW II, at least until 19th March 1944, i.e., the day, when Hitler ordered his troops to occupy Hungary and put an end to Hungarian independence.

,,Rumania (Rum. Romania), republic in N.E. Balkan peninsula, S.E. Europe. The territory of present-day Rumania was known as Dacia in antiquity; Jewish tombstones dating from early times have been found there. The Jews may have come as merchants or in other capacities with the Roman legions which garrisoned the country from 101 C.E. Early missionary activity in Dacia may have been due to the existence of Jewish groups there. Later the Khazars dominated parts of Dacia for a short time".

N.B. Of all encyclopedias in these pages only the Encyclopedia Judaica mentions the Turkish Khazars as inhabitants of parts of former Dacia. Their first appearance must have been after the end of the 7th century, for the tribe, coming from inner Asia, had reached the Lower Volga around that time. It is likely that some of the Khazars had settled in what later became known as Transylvania as early as the 8th century. The Magyars/Hungarians, coming into the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century are said to have encountered Khazars in the eastern parts. Also, it is known from Hungarian history that three Khazar/Kazar tribes, often referred to as Kabars, joined the Hungarians before the whole confederacy entered the Carpathian Basin; a considerable part of those Khazars/Kazars/Kabars settled in eastern Hungary, including Erdel/Transylvania. Their tribal colour must have been black, for which reason they were at times referred to as ,,Black magyars,, ('fekete magyarok'; cf. the name of another Turkish tribe, the Kara Kalpak, 'black hats'). They tenaciously clung to their shamanistic religion long after the rest of the Hungarians had been Christianized.

Encyclopedia Judaica is informed about the Khazars especially because the ruling family and the nobility of the Khazar Empire, between the Volga and Don rivers, accepted Judaism around 740. Hungarian history is also fairly well informed about the Khazars/Kazars/Kabars because in the 8th and 9th centuries the Hungarians lived together with the Khazars in the area of today's southern Russia, and because many Kabars settled in the Carpathian Basin where (Saint) Stephen I (997-1038) encountered many difficulties with them in eastern Hungary when he wanted to convert to Christianity that area of his realm, too.

If Stephen I made such an effort to bring the whole of the Carpathian Basin under uniform secular and ecclesiastical administration, would the ,,Daco-Romans,,, traditionally adherents of the Orthodox Church of Slav Rites rits:, have escaped his attention - if they had been in Erdel/Transylvania? Hardly! At least, they would have come in conflict with Stephen's successors after the schism of 1054. While hundreds of Hungarian, Slav and, later German, villages had to obey the Hungarian king's order to build at least one Christian church for every ten villages and regularly pay tithes, the ,,Daco-Romans,, could not have disobeyed.

If they had obeyed, they could not have remained in the Orthodox Church of Slav Rites rits:; if they had disobeyed, their expulsion would have been quite an event in Hungarian history, as was the expulsion, by the sword, of the Teutonic Knights in 1225.

,,The region was close enough to Byzantium for some contact with its Jewry to be assumed. Another wave of Jewish immigrants spread through Walachia (a Rumanian principality founded around 1290) after they had been expelled from Hungary in 1367. In the 16th century some refugees from the Spanish expulsion came to Walachia from the Balkan Peninsula. ... Since it was on the trade route between Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire, many Jewish merchants travelled through Moldavia. ... From an early date one of the main components of anti-Jewish hatred in Rumania was commercial competition".

N.B. All this is verifiable. Quite significant is the last sentence, for the hatred mentioned in it bore terrible fruit in the 1940's when some 400,000 Jews were exterminated by Rumanians in various parts of Rumania, including Russian territories conquered with Hitler's help during WW II.

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