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C.D.E.

C.D.E.

C.D.E. (Comitetul Democrat Evreiesc, Jewish Democratic Committee), organization created and run by the Communist Party of Romania to control and propagandize the Jewish population of Romania. Founded in June 1945, it included not only Jewish Communists but also "temporary allies": left-leaning Zionists, activists in the Yiddisher Kultur Farband, dissidents from the Union of Romanian Jews, and some Jewish members of the Social-Democratic Party. After December 1948, when a decision of the newly founded Romanian Workers' Party defined the Zionist movement as fascist, the "reactionary elements" (i.e., the non-Communists) were excluded, with only Communists remaining in the c.d.e. until its "autodissolution" (i.e., liquidation) in March 1953. Although there were some Jewish Communist intellectuals in its leadership, such as the painter M.H. *Maxy, the writer Barbu *Lazareanu, and professors of medicine Maximilian Popper and Arthur Kreindler, its real leaders were second-rank Jewish Communist activists, such as Bercu Feldman, C. Leibovici-Serban, and Israel Bacalu. Its functions were control of the activities of the Federation of Jewish Communities and of individual Jewish communities; anti-aliyah propaganda; cultural activities promoting Yiddish and rejecting Hebrew; qualification of Jewish youth in productive professions. In secret letters sent to the party and state leadership, c.d.e. activists noted that the main reason for Jewish emigration was antisemitism, but their letters asking to fight against it remained without results. The only successful field of c.d.e. activity was Yiddish culture. Yiddish literature (although with a "socialist" content) was developed, Yiddish-language schools were founded, Yiddish was taught as a national minority language, and school textbooks were published. Two Yiddish state theaters were founded. c.d.e. published a journal in Romanian, Unirea (1945–51), replaced by Viata noua (1951–53); a literary review in Yiddish, Yikuf Bletter (1947–52); and a bilingual Romanian-Hungarian bulletin (1948).

bibliography:

Y. Sommer, Ha-Va'ad ha-Demokrati ha-Yehudi (Comitetul Democrat Evreiesc) be-Romanyah min ha-Yesod ad ha-Ḥissul, Yuni 1945Mars 1953 (1984); S. Leibovici-Lais, Comitetul Democratic Evreiesc (c.d.e.), formatie politica romaneasca sau Jewsectia romaneasca (2004); L. Rotman, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Romanyah: Ha-Tekufah ha-Kommunistit ad 1965 (2004), 98–108.

[Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

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