Autonomies in Interwar Romania: Hungarians, Saxons, And Jews Cover Image

Autonomies in Interwar Romania: Hungarians, Saxons, And Jews
Autonomies in Interwar Romania: Hungarians, Saxons, And Jews

Author(s): Keith Hitchins
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane Gheorghe Şincai al Academiei Române
Keywords: Autonomy; Romanian national state; minorities; Jews; Transylvanian Saxons; Transylvanian Hungarians

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the present article is to show how minorities were able to pursue partial agendas of their own and even achieve a certain level of cultural and economic autonomy in a Greater Romania where governments pursued a national agenda. I have chosen three groups to serve as case studies of minority autonomy in Greater Romania –the Transylvanian Youth (Erdélyi Fiatalok), the young Saxon intellectuals in Transylvania gathered around the monthly review Klingsor, and the leaders of the Jewish credit cooperatives in Bessarabia. Although these groups involved relatively small numbers of people, they saw themselves as parts of larger communities which explains the central role that ethnicity played within their discourse. In the cases of the Transylvanian Hungarians and the Saxons the main efforts to come to terms to the new belonging of Transylvania to the Greater Romania was dealt with in cultural journals, the novels or essays, thus, betraying the centrality of the intellectuals that took over of the process of their groups’ identity in relation to the Romanian national state. The Jews from Bessarabia have been concerned with maintaining their group identity by saving the autonomy of their credit cooperatives which demonstrates the involvement of the small artisans and merchant in the process of identity preservation and affirmation in relation to the centralizing institutions of the new Romanian state. The particular ways these groups defined their identities by referring to the past or considering the projected future survival of their groups’ ethnic identity is being in turn studied in this article. Fact is that, informal autonomy, promoted in ethnic terms always dependent on the will of the “other” who agreed or not to respect their minority status.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 15
  • Page Range: 160-183
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English