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16
NINETEENTH ANNUAL REPORT.
the protection of the Jews by Austria and by other Powers. The â– first step taken by the Roumanian Government was to order a new general conscription for the army. Men who bad grownup sons fit for the military service were enrolled, men who had been exempt in former times as proteges, were forced, under the new regime, to serve; and not a little extortion was exercised upon those unfortunate Jews by the recruiting officials. These facts are well known and authenticated.
The Jews, formerly proteges, could not prove their ages, as no certificates were issued to them, and the conscription thus became in another way a form of terror and persecution.
Deprived of every legal document, without any recognized civil status, the former proteges find themselves in a position worse, if possible, than that of the native Jews. They have less security against expulsion from the villages and towns, and little hope of obtaining a Roumanian passport, in case they wish to travel abroad. For, having been previously independent of the Roumanian Government, that Government now refuses to acknowledge them at all.
It is difficult to imagine how precarious is the life led by the Jews, and upon what flimsy pretexts they are expelled from the villages. One example will suffice. Scarcely two years ago, the Prefect of Tutova sent a circular to his subordinates recommending them to enforce the law of vagrants against the Jews, for "some strangers have been carrying on a small trade in groceries and hosiery, taking in exchange eggs, fowls, and other articles," which, according to him, instead of being a boon to the peasant, meant "trading on the simplicity of the peasant," such persons " ought to be looked after, and expelled with utmost speed from the villages," and " the sub-prefects and mayors should keep an open eye upon such strangers, who should not easily be allowed to settle." This is an authentic document; numbers of similar acts might be mentioned, for mayors of the smallest villages have the power of sending away whomsoever they choose in less than twenty-four hours, and they have availed themselves of that liberty to deal with the Jews as they pleased.
The natural consequence has been that the towns became
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