1938 was the year that marked the beginning of the political and economical suffering of Jewish community of Romania. When the Iron Guard took over the rule of Romania they decreed that all Zionist organizations and the national funds be closed. Although the closures were also directed at the Hachshara, the halutzim did not abandon their positions and with the help of the local authorities continued their work.
The situation worsened when the GogaGuza government came to power and enacted the discrimination laws. Dr. Nachum Goldman from the Jewish Agency in Geneva was tasked to discuss the problems of the Jewish minority in Romania, but it did not bring any positive results. After the GogaCuza government was replaced by the fascist government of His Majesty King Carol all political parties and HeHalutz were outlawed on 30 March 1938. In a military order of 15 March 1938, HeHalutz activities were ordered to cease and all the training location to close.
As a result many members were harassed and arrested by the police.
We, the General of the Division, Gheorge Argeseanu, Military Commander of the 2nd Division, according to the orderlaw no. 856, published in the Monitorul Oficial (The Official Gazette), no. 34, from 11 February 1838 declaring martial law in the country, command that:
According to our order no. 1, of 23 February 1938 we declare martial law in the present territory.
As a result, the HeHalutz organization that operates in any rural and urban locations can harm our country's interests and can endanger the security of the population.
The local authorities did not close immediately the permanent training farms. They did not bother the farms because they understood that the trainees were preparing to leave Romania. Floreasca continued to function. In Jassy, the Friends of HeHalutz obtained permission for a number of trainees to work together with the Romanian peasants and to safekeep the equipment. In Hatzeg, Rabbi Shlomo Garin arranged with the chief of police to let the halutzim work and leave the farm at night. He offered his large house to the halutzim to sleep at night. Massada was also not harmed and in Beltz, the authorities did not consider the work on the farm dangerous to the security of the city.
Slowly new groups of halutzim started in new places, although it was dangerous during a regime (Garda de Fier The Iron Guard) that was openly fascist and antiSemitic. In Ramnicul Sarat, a 25 people group worked for an entire summer in dismal conditions and with very low pay on a farm owned by the chief of police and a few working groups functioned in Transylvania where the legal conditions were less harsh.
Due to the interventions of Dr. Nachum Goldman with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, PetrescuComnene, who was in Geneva on June 1938 and the lobbying by Dr. I. Nemirover, Dr.Sh. Zinger and Advocate L. Mizrachi with the Interior Minister, four new agricultural sites were approved. The authorities also promised to return the confiscated equipment and to allow fundraising
intended to help the Jewish emigration.
Permits to operate training were issued to the new organization Hachsharat Olim (Immigrant Training). This new organization planned to work for all factions regardless of political affiliation or ideological convictions. Mostly designed for the physical training, without any traces of culture or education, it included at the beginning four farms: Massada, Jassy, Hatzeg and Floreasca.
When HeHalutz was outlawed and forced to close, all youth organizations empowered the Immigrant Training to fundraise for the Jewish emigration from Romania.
Many leaders encouraged the movement to abandon the political divisions and to come together under one organization with the aim to build the national homeland.
The government bans also affected the youth summer camps that were organized each summer in the Carpathian Mountains. These camps provided social and educational training to the youngsters during summer vacations. The government sent supervisors to the youth summer camps and forced them to sing Long live King Carol at the start and the end of the day and discontinue the Zionist education. In the summer of 1939, the camps closed.
The community leaders succeeded to obtain a few permits to keep the camps open, but no one wanted to travel far away from home to the mountains. In Bessarabia the camps were set up on Jewish owned farms.
A few activities took place in this period: the 12th Congress of Shomer HaTzair on 913 April 1939 in Kishinev, the last seminar of Gordonia at the beginning of 1940 at the Massada farm in Beltz, the last Gordonia Council in the spring of 1940 in Kishinev.
The entire training activity practically stopped in 1939 and the training groups started to branch out
in other directions beside agriculture. The financial burden fell equally on the groups and on the HaHalutz Centre. On spring 1939, even if some legal conditions did not change and it was possible to run the training, the membership decreased. The authorities relaxed a little the rule because they saw an excellent opportunity to get rid of the Jews, therefore they allowed the emigration.
From the beginning of 1939, HeHalutz started to organize the emigration and helped the members who were ready to leave on Aliyah Bet. HeHalutz became responsible to bring the groups to the ports and to ensure transport from there to Eretz Israel.
On the summer 1939 the General HeHalutz had 26 training locations with 888 members (10 locations in Bessarabia, with 370 members, 9 in Transylvania 268 members and 7 in Regat with 250 members). During the winter of 1939 only 13 locations were left with 400 people. With the emigration of 400 people through illegal Aliyah, there were still 500 people who finished training waiting to leave Romania. Unfortunately, Romania prevented the distribution of the permits from the Schedule of AprilNovember 1940.
In February March 1939 HeHalutz prepared a survey of halutzim in training and of halutzim who finished training in the last two years.
|In training||On location||Total|
This survey was used to assign the number of representatives and secretaries from each faction. The Central Executive had 8 members: Gordonia 3, Dror HaBonim 2 and Shomer HaTzair 3. Secretaries: Gordonia 2 members, DrorHaBonim 1, Shomer HaTzair 2 and Central 5 members.
After the Annexation of Bessarabia and Bucovina by the Soviet Union at the end of June 1940, many considered that the HeHalutz movement was finished. In fact, it continued in the underground. Some of the halutzim succeeded to flee from the Soviet Union, but some were arrested and severely punished.
In conclusion, the HeHalutz movement is considered a monumental chapter in the Zionist movement of Romania, with Bessarabia taking the first place!
Many halutzim were fortunate to make it to Eretz Israel where they contributed to the development of settlements and kibbutzim: Osha, AloneiAba, GivatChaim, Dan, Hanina, Tirat Tzwi, Kfar Glikson, Massada, Maabarot, Maagan, Mishmar HaYarden, Nordiyah, Nahalat Jabotinsky, Nir Am, Ruchma, Shamir, Shaar haAmakin, and many more.
The halutzim were there to help their brothers and sisters during the Holocaust and to absorb the survivors in Eretz Israel.
|1923||No data||No data||699,882||699,882|
|1924||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|1925||500,000||500,000||No data||No data||500,000|
|1927||285,314||285,315||No data||No data||285,314|
|1928||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|1934||100,000||100,000||No data||No data||100,000|
|1935||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|1936||94,906||94,906||No data||No data||94,906|
(See details on pages: 255257)
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