This book deals with six trials, conducted by the Romanian state against Jewish key officials employed in state-owned import-export companies between 1950 and 1960. It begins with a presentation of the political realities of Romania following the Communist Party's rise to power, in particular those regarding its relationship with Romania's Jews and Gheorghiu-Dej’s policy of National Communism. Rozenberg describes the criminal procedure used in the staged economic trials follows and then examines this procedure based on the legal system of the period, as exemplified by the six analyzed trials. The Românoexport Jewish officials' trial is analyzed in depth, as the case study of the whole book.
This book concludes by bringing to light two phenomena that dissipate some mystique surrounding the events: first, the state's practice of using its legal system as a means of oppressing the population; and second, the stereotypical image of "The Jew" which the regime in Romania developed. Despite its supposed anti-religiosity, it held on to centuries-old prejudices against Jews as pariahs, with supposed allegiance to foreign elements preferred over their surrounding society, even to the point of betraying and exploiting their own country.
Veronica Rozenberg is a historian and author. She holds a PhD in Jewish History from Haifa University.
Chapter 1: Romania’s Post-WWII Socio-Political Context
Chapter 2: Political Trials as Repression Mechanisms in Communist Countries
Chapter 3: Purging Foreign Trade of Jewish Officials
Chapter 4: The Criminal Procedure followed in the Economic Trials
Chapter 5: The first economic trials
Chapter 6: Românoexport Trial
This analysis of a succession of economic trials in Communist Romania in the period 1960 to 1964 provides a unique and valuable contribution to our understanding of the perversion of the law for political ends.
Reading like a captivating detective story that unfolds during the context of the Cold War and has the animosity between capitalist democracy and communist planning as background, this book tells the story of the wrongful conviction, sentencing and imprisonment of a group of Jewish foreign trade officials in communist Romania. Belonging to the first generation of communist apparatchiks, who were drawn from a variety of ethnic groups, during the late 1950s these Jewish technocrats were removed from office and persecuted when Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej embraced national communism. Based on a range of archival documents made available recently and some testimonials of descendants of the accused, this book shows the limits of the “truth” recorded by the communist state in its official documents. Rozenberg is uniquely positioned to illuminate this forgotten historical case, since in her youth she saw her own father becoming one of the accused.
This book examines an understudied topic in the history of the Romanian communist regime of the late 1950s and early 1960s, which is the economic/political trials of the Jewish officials placed in key positions in the foreign trade government agencies. The author skillfully combines a thorough and meticulous investigation of unexplored and only recently available primary archival sources (mostly the files of the trials housed at the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives and the National Archives) with first-hand accounts of some of the witnesses and participants of this unknown history. The study opens new avenues for understanding the role of economic trials as instruments used by the Romanian communist regime to manufacture its national identity.
Rozenberg investigates a series of secret economic trials that took place before a Military Tribunal in communist Romania in the 1960s long after the end of the classic Stalinist era. The defendants were almost all high level Jewish officials working in the area of foreign trade to effectuate import-export deals with enterprises outside the Soviet bloc. Rozenberg traces the trumped up accusations against the group to the nationalist turn of the Gheorghiu-Dej regime, and documents the illegal methods used by the Romanian Securitate and judiciary. This is an important piece of research about a little-known episode in Romania’s recent history.