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Carp, Horia

(1869–1943), journalist, writer, translator, and politician. Horia Carp was born in Hârlău, Romania, where he received his elementary education; he then attended high school in Botoşani. After pursuing studies at the faculty of medicine in Iaşi, he left this program in his last year to become a journalist.

Carp published his first piece, the short story “Sfântul Nicolae” (Saint Nicholas), in 1891 in Ilustrațiunea Română. He then contributed to numerous other periodicals, including Lumea Nouă, Lumea nouă ilustrată, Răsăritul, Românul, Muncitorul, Evenimentul, Luptătorul, Adevărul, and Patriotul. After founding the Yiddish magazine Der yidishe geyst with journalist Eli‘ezer Rokeaḥ (1854–1914; a native of Palestine), from 1901 to 1904 Carp edited the Romanian weekly Mevasereth Zion, an endeavor that demonstrated his commitment to Zionism. Carp also founded and published the literary review Cultura, issued in 1911 and again in 1938–1940. As the main contributor to Curierul Israelit (1906–1940), and as a feared polemist and outstanding speaker, he was the most popular Jewish journalist of the time, acclaimed for denouncing injustices against Jews.

Carp’s literary work stressed Jewish life in Romania, especially the lives of the poor and the humble. In Sbucium (Torment; 1903) he portrays a second-hand clothes dealer, Jankel telal; in Gânduri fărâmate (Shattered Thoughts; 1905) he approaches the issues of emigration and Zionism; and in Povestea unui bătrân cuminte (The Story of a Wise Old Man; 1912) and Suflete obosite (Wearied Souls; 1918) he sets forth other representative typologies, such as Haim mafagiu (the street peddler), Avram slăbănogul (the puny) who is ready for sacrifice, and Tauba sacagiu (Tauba the water boy). Din vremuri de urgie (From Times of Oppression; 1924) is a collection of true stories showing discrimination against Jewish combatants during World War I and telling about a tragic episode in which Jewish prisoners were sentenced as deserters.

Carp wrote works denouncing antisemitism, including Răspuns insinuărilor d-lui Bogdan Duică (Reply to Bogdan Duică’s Insinuations; 1914), or defending Judaism, such as Străinii în Biblie şi Talmud (The Foreigners in the Bible and the Talmud; 1924) and Comunitatea, importanța sa istorică (The Community, Its Historical Significance; 1936). He also translated the first two volumes of History of the Jews by Heinrich Graetz, Altneuland by Theodor Herzl, and poems and stories by Y. L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem.

In advocating the emancipation of his community and defending Jewish rights, Carp worked within the Union of Native Jews (from 1923, Union of Romanian Jews). He was elected to the senate and in 1928 published his Discursuri parlamentare (Parliamentary Speeches): “Răspuns la mesajul tronului” (Reply to the Message of the Crown), “Interpelare cu privire la excesele de la Oradea” (Interpellation Concerning the Abuses of Oradea Mare), “Discurs rostit la legea amnistiei” (Speech on the Amnesty Law), and “Discurs rostit la legea cultelor” (Speech on the Cult Law).

As a General Zionist, Carp worked for the Jewish National Fund, publishing Ereț Israel, a propaganda magazine with the objective of collecting funds for land purchases in Palestine. He was arrested and tortured during the rebellion of the Iron Guard (21–23 January 1941), but succeeded in immigrating to Palestine. There he settled in Jerusalem, where his son, Matatias Carp—author of Cartea Neagră (The Black Book), dedicated to the ordeal of Romanian Jews during the Shoah—joined him. Horia Carp is buried in Kfar Barukh, an agricultural town near Haifa set up in 1924 by immigrants from Romania, on a plot of land that he had chosen and for the purchase of which he had contributed as commissary of the Jewish National Fund.

Suggested Reading

Țicu Goldstein, ed., De la Cilibi Moise la Paul Celan (Bucharest, 1996), pp. 146–176; Carol Iancu, L’émancipation des Juifs de Roumanie, 1913–1919 (Montpellier, France, 1992), pp. 43–47; Alexandru Mirodan, “Carp Horia,” in Dicționar neconvențional al scriitorilor evrei de limbă română, pp. 290–292 (Tel Aviv, 1986).



Translated from French by Anca Mircea