Mihai Eminescu

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Mihai Eminescu

Mihai Eminescu, born Mihail Eminovici (January 15, 1850 – June 15, 1889), was a very influential and probably the most famous Romanian Romantic poet, journalist, and novelist. Eminescu was active in the Junimea literary society, and was a prominent member of the Conservative Party and a journalist for the newspaper Timpul ("The Time"). Famous works include "Luceafărul" ("Evening star"), "Mai am un singur dor" ("I Have a Single Desire Left"), and the 5 "Scrisori" ("Epistles"). [1]

Eminescu on the Jewish Problem

In 1877-78, Romania was fighting the Ottoman Empire and the Romanian nation worked diplomatically to gain international recognition of the independence of Romania. A condition of this recognition in the Treaty of Berlin was that Romanian Jews be granted citizenship. From 1878 to 1879, Eminescu along with other prominent Romanians protested this, knowing that a nation must be ethnically and religiously unified to function and culturally develop properly as well as recognizing that the Jews were one of the most dangerous elements that could be taken into a nation. The Romanian government ended up granting citizenship to Jews anyway, although most Jews did not become citizens since military service was required for the gain of citizenship and most Jews were not willing to participate in the military. [2]

Some of Eminescu's comments on the Jews were:

"If today, when they [Jews] do not yet have full civil rights or political ones, they have taken over all commerce and all small industry in Moldavia; if today they have flaunted themselves frightfully over Romanian plains; if today they are nesting in the hearth of the industrious Oltenians; what will it be like tomorrow when they will be granted equal rights, when they will be able to call themselves Romanians, when they will have inscribed into laws the formal right that this fatherland is theirs just as much as it is ours!" [3]

and:

"...wherever in Europe the emancipated Jews, intervening in the culture of this country, have falsified and corrupted it... they represent here, that unmeasured and totally unproductive population living from the speculation of the work and health of the Romanian people; terms (of the Berlin treaty) under which the Jews, being a middle class and the liberal legislation being exclusively in favour of this class, they will become here the privileged masters and the Romanian will be the Jew’s servant." [4]

References

  1. Călinescu, George. Viața lui Mihai Eminescu ("The Life of Mihai Eminescu"). Bucharest: Ed. Semne, 2004.
  2. Crisan, Radu Mihai. Spre Eminescu: Răspuns românesc la ameninţările prezentului şi la provocările viitorului ("For Eminescu: Romanian Responses to present threats and future challenges"). Edition 4. Bucharest: Editura Tibo, 2008.
  3. Eminescu, Mihai. Complete works, "The Israelite Question", p. 489, Iasi, the lonescu-Georgescu Bookstore, 1914. Quoted by Alex Naum.
  4. Quoted in: Crisan, Radu Mihai and Eminescu, Mihai. "Yes! I am a Reactionary!: National Awakening Upon Mihai Eminescu". Bucharest: Tibo Publishing House, 2008, pg. 16.

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