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CULTURE AND THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN MODERN ROMANIA

Elisabeta Palace, Bucharest, Romania
May 27-30, 1998

Cernauti University, 1919-1940: Concepts and Consequences of Romanization

Mariana Hausleitner
This paper will begin by analyzing the role of Cernauti (Czernowitz) University in its Austrian incarnation prior to World War I. Almost all scholars agree that this university reached the highest European scientific standards and was held in high esteem both within Austria and abroad.

There is less agreement, however, about the political role of Franz Joseph Univesity, which is estimated rather differently by German and Austrian authors on the one hand, and Romanian writers on the other hand.

This difference becomes even greater in debates about this university after its Romanization. This aspect will be the main focus of the paper. Within a short time after the union of Bukovina with Romania, the institution's whole program, its faculty and its student body were transformed. Under the leadership of the new rector, Ion Nistor, the university was restructured according to political principles.

The ethnic Romanian students received the nationalist political message in a much more radical fashion than even Nistor himself had intended, and many of them became legionnaires. The Jewish, German and Ukrainian students reacted to this change and their marginalization in various ways, joining leftist and rightist movements.

In conclusion, I will sketch how today's Ukrainian historians view the tradition of Cernauti University.