La question juive reflectée dans la presse de Moldavie (1855-1859)
Author: Liviu-Iulian ROMAN
Keywords: Moldavia, Jews, press, anti-Semitic, “Zimbrul”, “Steaua Dunării”.
The presence of a great number of Jews in Moldavia (especially in Iaşi, where they accounted for half of the inhabitants) represented the focal point of the discontent manifested by those Moldavians who, between the years 1855 and 1859, were trying to find the means to ensure the safety of their state and also a better future by achieving the Union with Wallachia. The Moldavian press (the unionist publications “Zimbrul” and “Steaua Dunării” in particular) represents an important documentary source because it not only debated the Jewish question, but it also contributed to the formation of an anti-Semitic current. The reproaches formulated against the Jews targeted, in an equal measure, their dress code, their professions (the Sunday commerce, the use of phony measuring units, the usury), certain food habits and their smell. Moreover, given the majority’s wish in favour of the Union of the Principalities, the Jewish opposition to this endeavour (an incompletely argumented fact, to this moment) and their alleged involvement in the bankruptcy of the Bank of Moldavia amplified the animosity of the Moldavians towards the Jews, who became the prototype of the “stranger” or the “enemy” who opposed (unlike another foreign community appreciated by the Moldavians, the Armenians) the Romanians’ desire to regenerate and establish a modern national state.