I believed that the Jews had a future in socialism.

Tomi László
Date of birth:
Getta Neumann
Haifa, Israel

I believed that the Jews had a future in socialism. It took me a while to realize that I was mistaken. And when I realized... it was late. I was wrong, not only as a Jew. I was wrong from all points of view because the Communist Party very rapidly turned dictatorial. If you were registered with the party, you couldn't even cancel membership. There was no escape from the Communist Party except through exclusion, and with very serious repercussions for those who were kicked out. I learned to keep my mouth shut, to focus on my professional activities, and not to pursue any kind of advancement within the party hierarchy. Starting in 1946-1947, I began to lower my political profile and only focused on my professional development because I realized that I still had a professional future. Romania entered a phase of rapid industrial development and required many engineers. My future was assured from a professional point of view. But what I didn't realize - and only slowly discovered - was that Jews were also increasingly restricted in their professional careers. It was unclear to me at first, because I made good progress at the Polytechnic, where I was one of the most appreciated students, and, at the end of my studies, I had no trouble getting a job.

The internal politics of the party gradually turned anti-Semitic. In the early years, between 1948 and 1950, Jews were promoted everywhere fast and smoothly. But the situation changed from 1954 on. I was not promoted. I put up with it. Although unpleasant, it wasn't a disaster. I remained in an honourable position, with a fairly good salary for those years, but others were demoted, sued and framed, on the basis of false accusations. In Bucharest, one of my old friends ended up in prison, despite being totally innocent. There were trials in which innocent people were kicked out, imprisoned, and deported just because they were Jews and because others coveted their position. I only knew one, but there were dozens, hundreds of Jews who had advanced because they were good, only to be expelled in show trials because they couldn't be expelled otherwise. It was very, very ugly stuff.

Neumann, G. (2014) Destine evreiești la Timișoara. Portretul comunității din perioada interbelică până azi, Bucharest: Hasefer Publishing House

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