RRI Live!

Listen to Radio Romania International Live

From Romania to Palestine and Back

The presence of Jews in Romanian space is a very old one, they are attested sporadically as far back as the Roman conquest of Dacia

From Romania to Palestine and Back
From Romania to Palestine and Back

, 11.09.2023, 14:00

The presence of Jews in Romanian space is a very old one, they are attested sporadically as far back as the Roman conquest of Dacia. They become visible from the 14th century onward, when the oldest chancellery documents of the Romanian Principalities date to. In the 19th century, when nationalism appeared and developed everywhere in the world, Zionism was also born with an important presence in Romania where, according to the 1930 census, about 730,000 Jews lived, about 4% of the total population. But the appearance of Fascism and anti-Semitism in Romania, a local manifestation of a European trend, made many Jews choose to go to Palestine, which was under a British mandate since the end of the First World War.


Each of those who left had a unique destiny, each destiny is a story. In 1995, the Romanian Broadcasting Corporation Oral History Center interviewed Samuel Stein, and thus we learned his story while staying in the territory of Palestine, the choice for many Jewish people, and his return to Romania. Like any energetic young man, Stein adhered to radical life concepts and political views. He joined the communist youth out of conviction, and was arrested for communist activity in 1935 and imprisoned in the Doftana penitentiary until 1936. At the time of the interview, in 1995, he remembered characters we read about in history books today, such as the jurist and politician Wilhelm Filderman, the leader of the Jewish community in Romania, and Iuliu Maniu, the president of the National Peasant Party.


I didn’t have a very good opinion of Filderman, because he was with the Liberals, and the Jewish party of Transylvania, which also included Jews from Bucovina, Bessarabia, some from the Old Kingdom, who were more connected to the National Peasant Party. Most of the Jews, especially from Transylvania and the allied provinces, were on the side of the National Peasant Party, they were with the Jewish party, which was a Zionist party. I was not a Zionist, I was a communist. What turned us against Maniu and the National Peasant Party was his pact with the Legionnaires, which greatly elevated the Legionnaires. Until then, they were vagabonds, scoundrels, that’s how everyone knew them, and I’m not speaking as a Jew, I’m speaking as the Romanians saw them.


Samuel Stein was a Jew fully integrated into Romanian society, as were the overwhelming majority of Jews who became Romanian citizens after 1918.


I had many Romanian friends, as I behaved in the army as well, through my way of acting, in order to get somewhere in the army, and I was friends with everyone. Even a Legionnaire came to me, after a while, to hide his homemade cakes, because he was afraid that the others, his own comrades, would steal them. So he came to the jidan Stein to help him. And I helped him. Many times we talked with him about his Legionary convictions, but he said he had no way out, that if he did, they would kill him.



In 1939, Stein made the decision to go to Palestine. Embarked in the port of Constanța, together with 780 other Jews, on a cattle transport ship , he was looking for a new homeland. In the Dodecanese archipelago, not far from the island of Rhodes, the 780 Jewish passengers were evacuated due to a fire on board. Embarking on another ship sent by a Zionist organization, they finally arrived in Palestine. This is where Stein’s second life begins. He joined the Communist Party, but his refusal to join the army causes the party to exclude him. He chose to work for a year in Kibbutz Ramat Rahel near Jerusalem.


I think the kibbutz was 100 dunams (about 10 hectares), I don’t remember how many people were there. Some worked in the city in Jerusalem, some were farmers there in the kibbutz, others went to the Dead Sea. I mean, this integration was done gradually: you stayed there for about two weeks, at the Dead Sea, first you worked unloading and loading vessels from the Dead Sea and loading some trucks that took the loads to Jerusalem. Other times you also worked as a kind of porter at the train station in Jerusalem. We were carrying 100-kilogram bags on our backs.


Asked about Jewish relations with Arabs, Samuel Stein has no personal memories of tension or violence.


One day I left Ramat Rachel for Jerusalem, where I had two relatives. I went to my relatives and then I walked home. When they found out that I went home on foot to Ramat Rahel, they said to me: ‘You dolt, what have you done? The Arabs could have killed you on the way.’ I, myself, had no real problem. I even remember, at one point, I was on duty somewhere and an Arab came to me and said that he too would like to become a Jew. To which I replied that I was not qualified for such things, and sent him on his way.


The Second World War, however, made him enlist in the Jewish brigade in the British army, and participated in the battles in North Africa, southern Italy, France, and Belgium. After the war, in 1947, Samuel Stein made a choice of life again: he would return to Romania.


History Show
The History Show Monday, 08 July 2024

From the history of the women’s press in Romania

Individual rights and freedoms, enunciated since the 18th century, focused on the promotion of equality, beyond any criteria of religion, race,...

From the history of the women’s press in Romania
Радио NOREA
The History Show Monday, 17 June 2024

Restored Romanian monuments in Bessarabia

  On March 27, 1918, Bessarabia, stretching between rivers Prut and Dniester, united with Romania after it had been annexed by Russia in 1812...

Restored Romanian monuments in Bessarabia
History Show
The History Show Monday, 10 June 2024

Romania’s relations with the Vatican

The Romanian space, today inhabited by a mostly Christian-Orthodox population, was one of spiritual and religious confluence. The multi-confessional...

Romania’s relations with the Vatican
banner-Pro-Memoria.-960x540-1.jpg
The History Show Monday, 03 June 2024

Plan Z

Occupied after 1945 and having communist party regimes imposed on them, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe practically had no national...

Plan Z
The History Show Monday, 27 May 2024

Desertions in the Romanian Army in WWI

In a state of war, conscripted into a strict institutional form like the army, the military man is under great pressure. It’s about being alive...

Desertions in the Romanian Army in WWI
The History Show Monday, 20 May 2024

Radio NOREA

Between 1945 and 1990, a number of international radio stations used to broadcast in Romanian. These were mainly stations from Western Europe and...

Radio NOREA
The History Show Monday, 13 May 2024

Radio drama for children

A priority mission of the Radio was to educate and bring culture to everyone. Children are a generous audience and shows for them have always been...

Radio drama for children
The History Show Monday, 06 May 2024

The Romanian Institute of Technical Documentation  

  Institutional history is not always as interesting as the biography of a personality, or as the story of a breakthrough that changed...

The Romanian Institute of Technical Documentation  

Partners

Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român
Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS
Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online
Institului European din România Institului European din România
Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti
Muzeul Național de Artă al României Muzeul Național de Artă al României
Le petit Journal Le petit Journal
Radio Prague International Radio Prague International
Muzeul Național de Istorie a României Muzeul Național de Istorie a României
ARCUB ARCUB
Radio Canada International Radio Canada International
Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti” Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti”
SWI swissinfo.ch SWI swissinfo.ch
UBB Radio ONLINE UBB Radio ONLINE
Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl
creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti
italradio italradio
Institutul Confucius Institutul Confucius
BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți

Affiliates

Euranet Plus Euranet Plus
AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters
Digital Radio Mondiale Digital Radio Mondiale
News and current affairs from Germany and around the world News and current affairs from Germany and around the world
Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona

Providers

RADIOCOM RADIOCOM
Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company