The Romanian Antisemitism at the End of the 19th Century – Short Critical Perspective Cover Image
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Antisemitismul românesc la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea – scurtă privire critică
The Romanian Antisemitism at the End of the 19th Century – Short Critical Perspective

Author(s): Liviu Neagoe
Subject(s): Political history, 19th Century, History of Antisemitism
Published by: Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane Gheorghe Şincai al Academiei Române
Keywords: Antisemitism; citizenship; intellectual history; modern Romania

Summary/Abstract: This paper analyses the evolution and the features of Romanian anti-Semitism from the point of political and institutional modernization of a country who aspires to an European role. The political and institutional modernization of Romania can not avoid the captious problem of the „Jewish issue” as it was recorded in the constitutional debates and public discourse of the second half of the 19th century. International recognition of Romanian independence, stipulated during the Congress of Berlin from 1878, was conditioned by the political emancipation of the Jewish population. The huge international pressure was perceived by the intellectual and political Romanian elites as an intrusion into the internal affairs of a sovereign state. The revision of the article 7 of the Constitution from 1866 related to naturalization has generated a strong dispute. Finally, a politically solution was found: Jews could gain political emancipation only on individual basis. But until the end of the 19th century only a small part of the Jewish population achieved to obtain Romanian citizenship. The Romanian model of citizenship as it was implemented during the nineteenth century was influenced by the romantic ethno-cultural conception about nation. The juridical Romanian tradition has consecrated the jus sanguinis principle, of the “community of descendants”, in granting the citizenship instead of the humanistic and generous principle of jus soli. This particularity in defining of citizenship was decisive in understanding the intricate relationship between Romanians and Jews and the Anti-Semitic factor of the Romanian internal policy. The „Jewish issue” was finally a question of political choice. It was the choice of Romanian political and intellectual elites to „solve” the „Jewish issue” in the Antisemitism formula and to integrate the Jews according to the principle jus sanguinis of „community od descendants”. The bureaucratic Antisemitism from the late Nineteenth century was clearly different but inspirational for the radical Antisemitism from the interwar period. There is a fact that the Anti-Semitic discourse from the second half of the 19th century was not the main discourse of the political and intellectual Romanian elites. But is also a fact that the modern Romanian history can not be properly understood outside of the delicate „Jewish issue”.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 18
  • Page Range: 44-59
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Romanian