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.THE FRAUD OF 


“SOVIET 

ANTI¬ 

SEMITISM” 


By HERBERT APTHEKER 


























THE FRAUD OF 


“SOVIET ANTI - SEMITISM” 


By HERBERT APTHEKER 


°°°°OOOOOCXDOOOOOCK^^ 

NEW CENTURY PUBLISHERS: New York 

1962 














ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


HERBERT APTHEKER was born in New York City, in 1915. 
Since his first work. The Negro in the Civil War, was published in 
1938, he has authored more than a dozen books and scores of pam¬ 
phlets, among the best known being American Negro Slave Revolts 
(Columbia University Press, 1943), To Be Free (International Pub¬ 
lishers, 1948), A Documentary History of the Negro People (Citadel 
Press, 1951), History and Reality (Cameron Associates, 1955), To¬ 
ward Negro Freedom and The Truth About Hungary (New Cen¬ 
tury Publishers, 1956 and 1957), The Colonial Era and The Ameri¬ 
can Revolution: 1763-1783 (International Publishers, 1959 and 
i960). The World of C. Wright Mills (Marzani 8c Munsell, i960), 
and Dare We Be Free? (New Century Publishers, 1961). His latest 
work is a comprehensive study, American Foreign Policy and the 
Cold War (New Century Publishers, 1962). 

Dr. Aptheker served in the field artillery for over four years in 
the Second World War, rising through the ranks from private to 
major. He was awarded a prize in history by the Association for 
the Study of Negro Life in 1939, and was a Guggenheim Fellow, 
1946-47. He is presently the edtior of Political Affairs, and on the 
editorial board of Mainstream. Dr, Aptheker’s articles ant! reviews 
have appeared in most of the leading historical journals, including 
the American Historical Review, the Political Science Quarterly, 
the Journal of Negro Education , the Journal of Negro History , 
Phylon, and many more. 

Aptheker’s contributions have earned him a place as a conse¬ 
quential figure in the field of American scholarship. 


“Stop the Press” Flash 

On June 17, 1962, the Soviet Government announced the 
appointment of Veniamin Dyrmhitz (mentioned on page 8) as 
Chairman of the State Planning Commission, and as Deputy 
Prime Minister of the U.S.S.R. 


Published by New Century Publishers, 832 Broadway, New York 3 

July, 1962 PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. 




THE FRAUD OF 

“SOVIET ANTI-SEMITISM” 

By HERBERT APTHEKER 


For many months a concentrated campaign has been conducted 
in the United States by every means of communication having as its 
object to portray the Soviet Union as a land and a government 
drenched in anti-Semitism. Via radio and television, from the 
mouths of leading politicians—like Senators Javits and Keating of 
New York and Dodd of Connecticut—and in the pages of publica¬ 
tions whose circulation amounts to many millions-such as Life, 
Look, Saturday Evening Post, N.Y. Herald Tribune, N.Y. Post, 
Readers Digest —this charge, with more or less circumstantial de¬ 
tails, has been hurled against the U.S.S.R, It has also come from 
organizations with considerable influence-such as the Workman’s 
Circle, the American Jewish Committee and the (Orthodox) 
Rabbinical Council. 

Half the Jews living in the world today-after Hitler’s barbar¬ 
ism—reside in the United States; millions of Americans who are 
not Jewish know very well and very truly that anti-Semitism is a 
hallmark of social 'backwardness and political reaction. These two 
facts make the charge of anti-Semitism against the Soviet Union 
an especially damaging one because it is an obstacle to efforts to 
end the Cold War and to achieve a stable era of peaceful co-ex¬ 
istence. The main concern of those responsible for the campaign 
is not any alleged injustices against Jews, but rather a desire for 
the freezing of the Cold War and the launching of World War III. 
They choose the most effective weapon they can find-anti-Semitism 
-with which to besmirch the Soviet Union, the better to accom¬ 
plish their real and sinister aim. 

Nevertheless, this campaign has great impact upon many mil¬ 
lions of people in the United States-Jewish and non-Jewish- 
and the vast majority of these millions are perfectly sincere folk 
who want peace and not war, and who at the same time despise 


3 














anti-Semitism. As part of Uie necessary effort to get at the truth, 
anti as part of the effort to liquidate the Cokl War, let us turn to an 
examination of the present reality concerning this charge of anti- 
Semitism hurled against the Soviet Union. 

Who Is Guilty? 

The Soviet government is not guilty of anti-Semitism; on the 
contrary, it is one of the few governments in the world—there are 
several others now, since there are several Socialist states—which 
illegalizes all expressions or manifestations of anti-Semitism or any 
other form of racism. It is one of the few governments on earth 
which not only illegalizes anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, 
but also conducts a vigorous and sustained campaign of denuncia¬ 
tion of such poisons and of education in human brotherhood in 
accordance with its socialist morality and law. 

Would, as an American, that 1 could say the same about the 
United States. The government of the United Stales, however, is 
guilty of the systematic sustaining, both in a positive anti a nega¬ 
tive sense—that is, 'both in what it docs and does not do-of the 
most awful system of racism in the world today, challenged for 
“supremacy” in this only by the Republic of South Africa, Present 
in the racist fabric of American life-though not in governmental 
sanction—is deep and chronic anti-Semitism. As Benjamin R. 
Epstein and Arnold ForsLer, of the anti-Detarnation League of 
B'nai B’rith, state in their recent book (Some of My lies!. Friends, 
N.Y., 19(12) discrimination against Jews is "virtually a built-in 
part of American living.” This applies to housing, occupations, 
education, social intercourse and to a very widespread belief in 
elements of the anti-Semitic mythology among scores of Americans; 
with the rise of the ultra-Right, this disease is spreading and in¬ 
tensifying. 

No discussion of the position of Jews in the Soviet Union should 
begin without bringing to the fore two basic lacts. Firstly, CzarisL 
Russia was the prison-house of nations, and among its most awful 
features was the thorough and official policy of anti-Semitism. 1 ’he 
ghetto and the pogrom were regular features of czarist life; and in 
that society there existetl the most widespread anti-Semitism among 
the populace, especially in the predominant rural areas. I his was 


4 


as wide and deep as is white chauvinism in the United States today. 

The struggle against anti-Semitism by the Government and the 
Communist Party of the USSR has been one of the very important 
features of Soviet life since the Revolution; one of the most momen¬ 
tous successes of that Revolution is the cleansing from Soviet life 
of anti-Semitism. This does not mean that all its aspects and 
vestiges have been eliminated, and certain events since the Revo¬ 
lution—to which I shall revert—have tended to retard the cleans¬ 
ing. But the historic fact is that since and because of the Great 
Socialist Revolution in Russia that vast land has been transformed 
from one characterized by intense racism and anti-Semitism into 
one singularly devoid of both. 

Secondly, there are only two European countries in which a 
substantial portion of the Jewish population managed to survive 
the Hitlerite holocaust; these were Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. 
The fifty thousand Jews of Bulgaria were saved by the struggles 
of the Leh and by the very militant resistance therein by" the 
Jewish people themselves. With the Soviet Union, however, one 
is not dealing with Jews by the thousands but by the millions, 
and while none of the nations of Europe-or the rest of the world, 
for that matter—intervened, as governments and states, with any 
effectiveness at all on behalf of Jewish survival, the Soviet Union 
did. 

In the Soviet Union top priority was given to saving elements 
of the population especially threatened by the nazi beast. Among 
these elements were the Jews. Hundreds of thousands of Jews from 
Poland and Rumania and hundreds of thousands of Jews from 
the USSR were shipped east out of the path of the nazis. It is 
because of this—undertaken in the face of fantastic difficulties, 
when all priorities went to movement from the east to the west— 
that literally hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved by moving 
them from west to east. And it is because of this that there are 
living today-as full and equal citizens of the Soviet Union-about 
two and a half million Jewish people. 

It will not be remiss to recall the words of Albert Einstein, 
spoken in New York City in December, 1945, before a Noble Prize 
winners banquet: “We do not forget the humane attitude of the 
Soviet Union who was the only one among the big powers to open 
her doors to the hundreds of thousands of Jews when the nazi 


5 













armies were marching in Poland.” Nor is it irrelevant to quote 
the publication of the Carnegie Peace Foundation, International 
Conciliation (April, 1943): “Of some 1,750,000 Jews who suc¬ 
ceeded in escaping the Axis since the outbreak of hostilities, about 
1,600,000 were evacuated by the Soviet Government from Eastern 
Poland and subsequently occupied Soviet territory. . . . About 
150,000 others managed to reach Palestine, the United States, 
and other countries beyond the seas.” 

The Soviet Union has been the savior of the Jews of Europe. 
That is a fact, and it is a central and basic fact for any discussion 
of the attitude of the Soviet Government towards Jewish people 
and towards anti-Semitism. 

What are some of the main charges leveled today against the 
Soviet Government by those who accuse it of pursuing an anti- 
Semitic policy? 

The “Special Passport” Hoax 

It is alleged repeatedly that the Soviet Government requires 
all Jews to carry a special passport indicating the fact that they 
are Jews. What are the facts? 

All citizens of the USSR carry as identification what is called 
an “internal passport”—something not at all unique to the Soviet 
Union but rather common among European countries. One of 
the elements of identification on this passport is nationality; all 
passports carry the nationality of the owner. This includes Jewish 
citizens of the USSR, for in the Soviet Union the Jew is considered 
a member of a national group—lienee the establishment, thirty 
years ago, of Biro-Bid jam a Jewish autonomous region, which is 
still very much in existence. Historically, Jews, while having 
elements of nationality do not have all such elements and do not 
have all completely—notably the absence, in Eastern Europe, 
of a common territory. Therefore, Jews in the Soviet Union have 
the option, when getting their passports, of giving their nationality 
as either Jewish or as that of the Republic wherein they may reside. 

This fact was stated, accurately for a change, in the Neta York 
Times, April 2, 1962, although it was buried in a dispatch from 
Seymour Topping describing the general decline of religions in 
the USSR. Topping, noting that many Jewish youths in the 
Soviet Union had lost all religions belief, observed that as a 


6 


consequence there is growing integration of Jew and non-Jew. 
He then continued: “At the age of 16, when'Soviet citizens are 
issued their internal passports, Jewish youngsters have the option 
of entering their nationality as Jew or that of the republic in 
which they live.” 

Of course, in the United States—marked as it is by national 
persecution and by chronic anti-Semitism-there are tendencies, 
especially so far as official documents are concerned, to resist the 
inclusion of nationality identification. Thus, the National Asso¬ 
ciation for the Advancement of Colored People has fought to 
remove all designation of race or nationality from documents— 
even drivers' licenses. In our country, under present conditions, 
that is a progressive effort, especially as it pertains to documents 
related to employment or police records. But when white 
chauvinism has been illegal!zed and sustained education against 
it lias been conducted over a prolonged period, and the whole 
fabric of social, political and economic life has been changed, such 
demands will fade away, and the obvious usefulness, for purposes 
of identification and statistical knowledge, of the nationality of 
the person will be dear and primary, Such characterization then 
will be in no way invidious, and data on nationality will be offered 
as naturally as today one offers the color of his eyes. 

The So-Called “Quota System” 

Another common charge is that there exists a “quota” in the 
educational institutions of the Soviet Union, as there used to exist 
in old Russia—and old Poland, Hungary, Rumania-and as exists 
presently in many educational institutions in the United States, 
where it is still applied against Jews, let alone the notorious and 
rigid discrimination against Negroes. 

This charge, too, is false. Merit in the Soviet Union—unlike 
in the United States—basically determines entrance into educational 
institutions and increasingly, since education is free-as facilities 
grow—everyone is receiving equally more and more education. 
Thus, as of December i, i960, there were 3,545,000 Soviet citizens 
in schools of higher education; of these, 2,070,000 were Russians, 
517,000 were Ukrainians, 291,000 were Jews, 95,000 were Byelo¬ 
russians, 88,000 were Georgians, 74,000 were Armenians, etc. Jews, 
though standing eleventh in terms of numbers among the nationali- 


7 








ties within the USSR, stood third in the number of students attend¬ 
ing higher institutions of learning; put another way, though Jews 
amounted to only 1.1% of the population of the Soviet Union, 
they amounted to 8.2% of the number of students in institutions 
of higher learning in that country. 

At this point it is sometimes objected—as by Senator Javits, 
for example—that while the percentage of Jewish students at such 
institutions may be beyond the percentage of Jews in the popu¬ 
lation, still the present percentage is below what it was in 1935. 
And that fact—it is a fact—is supposed to show some kind of quota 
system and to be explicable only on the basis of such a system, 
reflecting an alleged policy of anti-Semitism. , First, if the per¬ 
centage of Jewish students is about 8 times that of the Jewish 
population as a whole it surely does not reflect a quota system 
against Jews. Second, the fall in percentage in the past twenty-five 
or thirty years is explained by two things: (a) the casualty rate 
among Jews in World War II was higher than that for most other 
nationality groups in the USSR; (b) the literacy and cultural 
levels of other nationalities in the Soviet Union have leaped forward 
as a result of the Socialist revolution. 

Additional data may be brought forward demonstrating the 
absence of any quota system and simultaneously going a long way 
to demolish the myth of “Soviet anti-Semitism.” Specialists em¬ 
ployed in the Soviet Union, possessing a higher education, number 
427,000 Jews, 257,000 Byelorussians and 155,000 Georgians, yet 
both of the latter nationalities considerably outnumber the Jews. 
Among scientific workers in the USSR—in both the natural and 
the social sciences—Jews stand third: Russians, 230,000; Ukrainians,* 
35,000; Jews, 33,500. In fact, though, as we have noted, the Jews 
number but 1.1% of the Soviet population, they constitute today 
14.7% of all doctors, 8.5% of all writers and journalists, 10.4% 
of all jurists; 7% of all art workers (actors, musicians, artists, 
sculptors, etc.). 

These facts demonstrate conclusively that the charge of a quota 
system—while true in many countries of the “free world,” includ¬ 
ing the United States—is not true as regards the Soviet Union. 

In this connection, it is noteworthy that Jewish scholars are 
present in considerable numbers among the faculties of Soviet 
universities. Thus, several of the faculty members of the Moscow 


8 


Institute of Foreign Languages are Jewish, including: Sophia 
Frey, Ilya Galperin, Elisa Rizel, Isaac Salistra, Israel Shekter. 
Forty members of the faculty of the Lenin Teachers’ Center, in 
Moscow, are Jewish. The Dean of the Faculty of Music at the 
University of Moscow until his death early in 1962 was Jewish— 
the famous composer, Alexander Goldenweiser. At the Byelo¬ 
russian State University in Minsk, 68 of the faculty members (out 
of a total of 300) are Jewish, and five departments at that 
University are headed by Jewish scholars, including Professor 
Grigori Starobinets, head of the Department of Analytical Chem¬ 
istry, and Professor Lev Shneerson, head of the Department of 
Modern History. 

“No Outstanding Jewish Leaders”? 

It is frequently alleged, as part of the charges of anti-Semitism 
against the USSR, that there are no leading personalities, espe¬ 
cially in government and in the foreign service and in the armed 
forces, who are Jewish. The facts demonstrate this to be as false 
as the charge of a quota system in education. 

Who are some of the outstanding figures of Jewish nationality 
in the Soviet Union today? 

They include: 

M. B. Mitin , Chairman, All-Union Department of Po¬ 
litical and Scientific Education, Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union. 

Veniamin Dymshitz , Member, Central Committee, CPSU, 
Member, State Planning Commission of the Soviet Union, 
formerly chief engineer of the Bhilai Steel Mills project in 
India. 

Jacob Kreizer , Colonel-General in the Soviet Army, 
Member, Central Committee, CPSU, Hero of the Soviet 
Union, Member, Supreme Soviet, RSFSR, Commander-in- 
Chief of all Soviet Armed Forces in the Far East. 

David Dragunsky, General in the Soviet Army, Twice 
Hero of the Soviet Union, Delegate XXII Congress of the 
CPSIJ; Commander, Southern District, European Front, 
Deputy from Armenia to Supreme Soviet. 

It may be added that there are 400,000 Jews who are members 


9 








of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; and there are over 
100 Jews who are Generals in the Soviet Army. 

Among Jews holding very responsible positions in the foreign 
and diplomatic services of the USSR are: N. Tsarapkin, Chief 
of the Soviet Mission at the Geneva Disarmament Conferences; 
G. Mendelevitch , Secretary of the Soviet Mission to the United 
Nations. 

Cabinet rank in several of the Republics of the Soviet Union 
is held by Jews; among others are Ilya Beliavicus of the Lithuanian 
Socialist Republic, and Leonid Paperny of the Byleorussian Socialist 
Republic. In many other cases positions of great political conse¬ 
quence are held by Jewish people, as in the instance of Genrikas 
Zimanas, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party 
of Lithuania (and Editor-in-Chief of the Party’s organ in Vilna); 
of Ilya Egudin , Chairman, State Collective Farm of the Crimea 
and Member of Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Republic; of 
Israel Kazhdan , Deputy Chairman, City Soviet of Minsk. 

The editorial staffs of leading newspapers and journals almost 
always include Jews among other nationalities, and in not a few 
cases chief editorships are held by Jews. Thus, for example, the 
editor-in-chief of the very significant journal, Problems of World 
Economics and International Relations is Jacob Khavinson , while 
the editor-in-chief of Problems of Oriental Research is Professor 
Joseph Braginsky , also Jewish. 

Outstanding research and administrative figures in scientific 
endeavor in the Soviet Union include Jews. Thus, the Chief of 
the Theoretical Section, Institute of Atomic Energy, is Savely 
Feinberg (a Lenin Prize winner), and the Chief of the Magnetic 
Laboratory of the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism is Shmai 
Dolginov. Among the many outstanding medical institutions in 
Moscow, seven are headed by Jewish scientists; Professors Berlin- 
Chertov , David Vas , Nahum Altshuller , Mendel Vasserman , Zinovy 
Lurye , Liber Nisnevich and Yetim Pasnykov. The chosen Presi¬ 
dent of the Society of the History of Medicine of the USSR is the 
revered scientist—a Jew—Professor Ilya Strashun. The Chief of 
the Physical and Electronic Optics Division of the Institute of 
Surgery (Moscow) is Dr. Eliazar Rosenfeld. 

Among those announced in i960 as having been awarded the 
Lenin Prize were 38 Jews, and their fields of accomplishment 


10 


included physics, mathematics, medicine, history, economics, ma¬ 
chine-construction, automation, metallurgy, chemistry, energetics, 
architecture, communications and agriculture. 

One of the most distinguished physicists in the Soviet Union 
—and in the world—is Dr. Lev Landau , who is Jewish. A foremost 
psychologist, Dr. A . R. Luria— well-known in the United States, 
for his work has been published here and he toured this country, 
speaking before professional assemblies, in i960—is Professor of 
Psychology at the State Institute of Experimental Psychology 
(Moscow); Dr. Luria is Jewish. 

Directors of world-famous artistic and cultural organizations not 
infrequently are Jewish. Thus, the Director of the Russian Drama 
Theatre in Vilna is Lurye; of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow 
is Chaikin; of the Bolshoi Ballet is Feier; of the Maly Theatre in 
Leningrad is Rabinovich; chiefs of choreography with the Kirov 
(Leningrad) Ballet are Fenster and Yakubson . 

Several of the Soviet artistic performers and literary figures 
whose genius has gained applause from the entire world are 
Jewish: Emil Gilels, David and Igor Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan , 
Vladimir Ashkenazi and Ilya Ehrenburg. 

Yevtuschenko’s “Babi Yar” 

Even the publication of the very moving poem, “Babi Yar.” 
by Evgeny Yevtuschenko, has been made into an attack upon the 
Soviet Union and some kind of “proof” of its being guilty of 
anti-Semitism. 

But what is the truth of this matter? Yevtushenko is a splendid 
product of Soviet society; he is a Russian, a non-Jew, who has 
helped in the translation of the work of such Jewish writers as 
Feffer and Vergelis. He is a Com mini is L 

His “Babi Yar” appeared, together with another poem from his 
pen hailing the Cuban Revolution (for some “unknown" reason the 
American press, so smitten with Yevtushenko’s poetry, has ignored 
entirely Ms work on Cuba!), in The Literary Gazette. I hat 
journal is ihe central organ of the Soviei Writer’s Union and has a 
circulation of over 700,000. 

Yevtushenko has stated that the immediate inspiration for the 
poem was the publication of the Draft Program of the XXII 


11 












Congress of the CPSU—a Draft envisioning the building of Com¬ 
munism in the USSR., and containing a very strong attack upon 
all forms of racism and explicitly against anti-Semitism. The 
poem memorialized the scores of thousands of Jews who, together 
with many Soviet Army officers, were slaughtered by the nazis near 
Kiev during World War II. 

This stirring poem concludes: 


Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar. 

The trees look sternly , 
like judges. 

Everything here cries out in silence , 
and doffing my hat , 

I feel 

how I suddenly become gray , 

And myself— 

like one entire soundless cry 
over thousands and thousands of buried ones . 

I am— 

each old man shot right here. 

I am— 

each baby shot right here . 

Nothing within me will ever forget it! 

Let thunder the “International/’ 
when forever buried shall be 
the last anti-Semite on earth. 

There is no Jewish blood in my blood. 

But hated vehemently I am 
By all anti-Semites. 

Just as a Jew 
And therefore— 

I am a true Russian. 

This poem has been recited before thousands in the Soviet 
Union, in addition to reaching hundreds of thousands in printed 
form. It was passionately discussed—culture is a matter of uni¬ 
versal interest in the USSR. In some cases it was criticized, justly 
(as failing to make any mention of the struggle against anti- 
Semitism that was characteristic of the best in the Russian revo¬ 


18 


lutionary tradition; as failing to note the many non-Jews slaughtered 
with the Jews in the Soviet Union, and at Babi Yar, itself), and 
unjustly, too in a dogmatic and sectarian way. 

But, basically, the poem and the poet reflect the health of the 
Soviet Union, the best in its younger generation, and the refresh¬ 
ment coming with the post-war purging of the rigidity, excesses and 
illegalities associated with the latter years of Stalin’s power. While 
the first edition of Yevtushenko's collected poems was printed in 
20,000 copies, the second edition recently issued numbered 70,000. 
He himself recently visited Great Britain, France, the United 
States and Cuba and has now returned home. 

Yevtushenko s Babi Yar’ was written as news of the swastika 
paintings in West Germany and the United States, the attacks 
upon Jewish communities and people in many places of the 
“Free World," were horrifying all civilized mankind. It is a cry 
of outrage against such barbarism in all its forms and no matter 
how covert its vestiges, coming from one of the magnificent 
products of a socialist society. It reflects the finest values created 
and nurtured by that society. 

Economic Crimes Against Society 

1 he Soviet Union is now consciously building a Communist 
society. This is the task set forth in the Program of the Com¬ 
munist Party adopted at its XXII Congress. It is the third 
Program that Party has so far adopted: the first, at its II Congress 
( 1 9 ° 3 ) set the task of destroying Czarism; the second, at the VIII 
Congress (1919) set the task of building Socialism. Both those 
Programs were accomplished; the third also will be accomplished 
-if peace is preserved in the world-and by 1980 Communism will 
have taken shape in the Soviet Union. 

To accomplish this, economic crimes against society-such as 
large-scale and systematic stealing, speculating, black marketeering 
-must be eliminated, For they reflect the persistence of an ethic that 
is incompatible with socialism and communism and they constitute 
blows of a material character that intensify the difficulties of 
accomplishing (he Program of the Party. Such crimes are few 
because the society has been transformed and with it its people 
have been transformed. .Still such crimes do appear; under present 
conditions and in that kind of society they are the worst forms 















of criminality. Hence for them, in aggravated and repeated in¬ 
stances, severe penalties have been provided, including even 
execution. 

Since these laws were passed, several score people have been 
found guilty—among the 210 , 000,000 people of the USSR—of these 
crimes and perhaps as many as twenty or twenty-five have been 
executed. Those jailed and executed make up many nationalities 
of the USSR and include Jews; the press of the West, and espe¬ 
cially of the United States—but not of the USSR—has made 
much of the fact that Jews appear to be among the criminals 
arrested and/or executed in these cases. These laws and their 
enforcement have nothing at all to do with anti-Semitism, They 
are laws aimed against criminals; they severely punish the forms 
of crimes held to be most awful in a society that is socialist and 
that is consciously struggling to build communism. They are 
applied to those guilty, and their nationality has nothing what¬ 
soever to do with the cases. 

Professor Harold Berman, of the Harvard Law School, was in 
the Soviet Union for several months in 1962 lecturing on American 
Constitutional Law as a Visiting Professor in the University of 
Moscow. Himself Jewish, Professor Berman had the following to 
say about this matter: 

In the past months I have read reports in American news¬ 
papers that anti-Semitism is supposedly growing in the Soviet 
Union. To my mind there is a large element of subjectivism 
and inaccuracy in these reports , I know they are often con¬ 
nected with the recent trials in the USSR of big speculators , 
thieves and embezzlers. However, this in my opinion> does 
not mean that any policy of discrimination is being pursued 
against the Jews. My Jewish friends in the Soviet Union , 
with whom I discussed this question, confirmed this. For 
among those convicted are not only Jews but individuals of 
other nationalities. 

On the general question of the existence of anti-Semitism in the 
Soviet Union, it is worth quoting Professor Berman again: 

I have been in the Soviet country for almost a year and 
have not seen any manifestation of anti-Semitism . 1 have 
attended many meetings and conferences of Soviet lawyers 


14 


among whom there were quite a few Jews. At these meetings 
there were often heated, even sharp > arguments on the ques¬ 
tions under discussion. But I have never felt any element 
of national or racial hostility in these arguments. (Vochen- 
blatt: Canadian Jewish Weekly f May 10, 1962,} 

The “Banning" of Matzoh 

Much capital for the Cold War was made as a result of the 
order in 1962 by the Soviet Union banning the baking of matzoh 
(unleavened bieacl) in State Bakeries; this also was played up in 
the Western press as evidence of anti-Semitism, The fact, however, 
is that the same decree which banned the use of State Bakeries 
for the making of matzohs also banned them for the making of 
wafers used in the religious services of the Greek Orthodox Church. 
Tn neither case was the baking of the product forbidden, or its use 
in any^ way prohibited; as a matter of fact, both products were 
made in homes and in private religious institutions and were 
used during the appropriate holidays. But they are no longer 
to be produced by the State; this has nothing to do with being 
anti-Semitic (or antbGreek Orthodox), but is rather part of the 
continuing effort to divorce absolutely and completely the state 
and the church—the secular from the religious—within the Soviet 
Union. 


Revival of Yiddish Culture 

For the last several years a process of the revival of Yiddish 
culture has been going forward in the Soviet Union. Among the 
crimes, illegalities and excesses associated with the repudiation 
of collective leadership and Leninist principles of Party and gov¬ 
ernment functioning, during the last years of Stalin's life, measures 
were taken against the cultural life of the Jewish people. In 
addition, among the many peoples victimized in that period were 
Jews. Related to this was the corrupting impact of years of nazi 
occupation in considerable areas of European USSR, as well as 
the incorporation within the Soviet Union of areas that had been 
dominated by quasi-fascistic governments in Poland and in Ru¬ 
mania. These harmful and anti-Marxist and anti-Soviet acts and 
policies—organically lied to preparing for World War II and then 
the worst years of the Cold War—have been utterly repudiated 


*5 














and stern measures of correction and of renovation have been 
undertaken. 

In the recent period in the Soviet Union scores of thousands 
of copies of the works of Sholem Aleichem, Mendele Moishe- 
Seforim, I. L. Peretz, David Bergelson, Osher Swartsman, have 
been published, in Yiddish, in the Soviet Union. The bi-monthly 
magazine, Soviet Homeland , in Yiddish, has been issued since 
August, 1961; it is published in 25,000 copies and during the first 
year carried the creative writings of 112 Soviet Yiddish authors, 
poets and dramatists. 

Concert tours, recordings, plays, theatre groups, choruses— 4 
all performing in Yiddish—have been seen or heard by millions 
and millions of Soviet citizens in the past six or seven years. These 
individuals or groups have toured every major city in the Soviet 
Union; their appearances have been advertised in both Yiddish 
and other languages (on billboards of various Republics) and 
their audiences are made up of every nationality in the vast 
country. 

As a few examples: A Soviet Yiddish revue, “Zol zein Fraid” 

(Let There be Joy) has been performed, in 1961, in Zoporozhe, 
Dnepropetrovsk, Yalta, Sinferepol, Evpatoria, Kislovodsk, Yesen- 
tuki, Piategorsk, Moscow and other cities. In Riga, Latvia, the 
Distributive Workers formed a Yiddish Dramatic Group and it 
has given many performances not only in Latvia but in other 
Republics. The Pensioners' Council of Lithuania also formed a 
Yiddish Theatre Group which performs regularly at the Kovno 
State Theatre. The Trade Unions of Lithuania have formed a 
Yiddish Amateur Theatre Ensemble (52 members) which has 
presented Yiddish plays in Vilna, Minsk, Moscow and Leningrad 
in the past few months. A concert ensemble was formed in 
Czernowitz and this has carried classical and modern Yiddish 
culture to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tashkent, Vitebsk, Gomel 
and Odessa in the recent past. There are many other examples of 
collective—and individual—cultural performances in Yiddish every¬ 
where in the USSR today, and they are witnessed by literally 
millions of people each year. 

Other forms of activity directly related to Yiddish cultural 
activity may be instanced. Thus, in December, i960, an exhibit 
of the life and works of the great theatre personality, Solomon 


16 


Mikhoels, was offered at the Central Actors' House, in Moscow. 
In July, i960, in Czernowitz, the Writer’s Union held a literary 
evening, attended by 1,500 people, at which Ukrainian, Russian 
and Yiddish literary figures read from their works—Moishe Altman 
and H. Blushstein, reading from the Yiddish. In April, 1961, a 
Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Meeting was held in Vilna, under the 
auspices of the Trade Union Cultural Council of that city; the 
Vilna Yiddish Chorus sang partisan songs, a Russian survivor of 
nazi imprisonment spoke (in Russian), a Lithuanian spoke, in his 
language, and a Jewish survivor, Mendel Deitch, spoke in Yiddish. 

The rehabilitation of those victimized in the “Bad Years” 
includes Jews, of course, as well as non-Jews. The works of 
Mikhoels, of Feffer and of Kvitko have been issued in hundreds of 
thousands of copies: records of readings of the writings of Feffer 
and others, in Yiddish and in Russian, have been produced by the 
scores of thousands. Late in 1959 a monument to Mikhoels in 
Moscow was unveiled in a very impressive public ceremony 
attended by outstanding political and artistic figures; the sponsor 
of the monument was the All-Russian Theatrical Association. On 
the suggestion of the Soviet Writer's Union, the city of Rogochev, 
birthplace of the famous Yiddish poet, Shmuel Halkin, named a 
main street after him. (The city already has a street named in 
honor of Sholom Aleichem,) It is worth adding that the city of 
Vitebsk, in the Ukraine, named a street, in i960, after Morris 
Winchevsky, the Lithuanian-born Yiddish socialist poet and editor, 
who lived in the United States from 1894 until his death in 1933. 

Of perhaps even greater consequence, in terms of the evidence 
concerning anti-Semitism, than the renaissance of 'Viddish cultural 
expression which is again in the process of development in the 
USSR, is the really impressive evidence of the bringing of the 
best in Yiddish culture to the vast masses of tire non-Jewish 
population of the Soviet Union, in forms understandable by them. 

Literally millions of copies of classical and modern Yiddish 
literature have been published in recent years in the Russian, 
Ukrainian and other languages of the USSR. 1 Inis, in 195?* *^ ie 
Russian language, David Bergelson's poetry ivas issued in 75,000 
copies; L. Kvitko's in 300,000 copies; the books of Sholom Aleichem 
in 700,000 copies, and many others. 

In 1959, the centenary of Aleichem’s birth, millions of copies 


*7 














of his works were issued—including a six-volume collection in 
225,000 sets. A general commemoration-day was held with out¬ 
standing figures of the governmental and literary world participat- 
in ®', Th® government issued a postage stamp carrying Sholom 
Aleichem's face and name. In 1961, the All-Union Group Pub¬ 
lishing House issued an exquisite book of lithographs on Aieichem 
themes by the Jewish artist, Anatoly Kaplan. 

In 19G0, there was issued a "Collection of Jewish Songs” with 
texts in Russian and Yiddish, and musical scores by the prominent 
Soviet Jewish composer, Kampaneyetz. In that year and in 1961 
there were performances and recordings of Shostakovich’s “From 
Jewish Poetry,” the record containing the voices of outstanding 
Soviet artists, as Zara Dolukhanova and Mark Reisen. 

Plays by Jewish artists having themes exposing the horrors of 
anti-Semitism, either in Czarist days or in fascist countries, have 
been produced in many Soviet cities and witnessed by tens of 
thousands. A feature movie on Biro-Bidjan ran for several months 
in Moscow theatres in 1961; in i960, an East German film based 
on the Ann Frank diary ran for weeks in various Soviet cities; 
the Youth Theatre of Riga, in 1961, performed its own version 
of the Ann Frank story. 

In the latest issue of Soviet Homeland (June, 1962) figures are 
published showing that from 1955 through 1961 there were pub¬ 
lished in the Soviet Union 187 different books by 80 Jewish writers, 
in printings totalling almost twelve million copies , in all languages! 
including Yiddish, Sholem Aleichem's works, during that period, 
were published in the USSR in seven languages (including Yiddish) 
in 3,062,450 copies. 

Just as it is a fact that the Soviet Union was the savior' of the 
Jews of Europe, it also is a fact that no country in the world 
approaches the Soviet Union in its systematic effort to bring the' 
riches of Yiddish thought and culture and the realities of Jewish 
life to its entire population . 

Education in Communist Outlook 

Furthermore, there is, of course, in the Soviet Union continual 
education in the Communist world outlook—i.e., materialist, scien¬ 
tific, humanist, anti-religious, anti-mystical. As part of this, there 
is repeated reference, including from the highest level of govern¬ 

18 


ment, to the abomination of anti-Semitism, its sources and the 
necessity to combat it. This appears not only in terms of the 
publication, in millions of copies and in the languages known by 
the masses of people, of the greatest classics of Yiddish writings; 
it appears positively, as in Boris Polevoi’s best-selling novel, The 
Story of a Real Man , and in the beautiful film made from that 
book. 

It appears, too, in specific and unequivocal condemnations of 
anti-Semitism. Thus, for example, the Prime Minister of the 
USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, in addressing the Supreme Soviet, 
January 14, i960, noted the upsurge of anti-Semitic outrages in the 
West, especially in West Germany, and went on to say: 

The current fascist anti-Semitic incidents in many cities 
of West Germany are a characteristic sign of the upsurge of 
reaction, whose evil maneuvers have long since been widely 
known to the world community. Many decades ago, during 
the period when Czarist reaction was rampant, anti-Semitic 
pogroms had been organized by the “black hundred n 1 gangs ] 
from time to time. Lenin, the Bolsheviks and all progres¬ 
sives, decisively combatted that ignominious manifestation. 

In Germany Hitler aggressively fanned the flames of anti- 
Semitism. He suppressed all freedoms, ruthlessly crushed 
democratic rights. And he perpetrated all that in order to 
launch his bloody cause—to spark war . 

It would be well if a President of the United States would some 
day favor the Congress with such a lesson. 

In New Times , November 4, 1961, as another example—and 
New Times is a weekly magazine published in Moscow in seven 
languages in addition to Russian with a circulation of many 
hundreds of thousands—one finds a leading historian, Zinovy 
Sheinis, quoting Lenin on the Jewish question. Sheinis writes: 

It is not the Jews who are the workingman's enemies . 
The workers' enemies are the capitalists of all countries . 
Among the Jews there are workers , toilers, they make up the 
majority. They are our brothers in oppression by capital, our 
comrades in the struggle for socialism. . . . Shame on accursed 
Czarism, which has tormented and persecuted the Jetos. 


19 










Shame on those who sow enmity for the Jews, who sow hatred 
for other nations. 

Professor Sheinis then continues: 

In the Soviet Union , whose Jewish population is half as 
large again as that of Israel } Jews are working devotedly, with 
all our other peoples, in the building of communist society * 

In the war years they fought and laid down their lives for 
the Soviet homeland; many were honored with the title of 
Hero of the Soviet Union, and tens of thousands were 
awarded decorations. Nang in peacetime, they are active in 
all branches of our economic , scientific* and cultural life . 

With such statements coming from a nation's Prime Minister 
made before its Parliament, and from a nation's leading his¬ 
torian published in one of its most widely circulated publications, 
it is difficult not to believe that those who persist in spreading 
slanders about ''Soviet anti-Semitism” are engaged in this effort not 
because of concern for Jewish people, but because of a desire to 
condemn Socialism and to worsen international relations.* 

There is great complexity on the whole question of Jewish 
culture, and much room for honest disagreement and fraternal 
seeking of the best possible approach. The general trend, espe¬ 
cially in the USSR, but also in most advanced societies, is toward 
full integration of Jew and non-Jew. The Jews of the Soviet 
Union have features*of a nationality, but are not a nation; and 
in the United States—where anti-Semitism, as we have stated, is 
sharp and deep and widespread—integration also has gone far. 
There are now, for example, in the United States only three Yid- 
dish-language daily papers, and no English-language papers de¬ 
voted largely to Jewish people’s affairs. The Yiddish-language theatre 
has all but disappeared, and publication of creative works in Yid¬ 


• Afteir this pamphlet was in galleys three additional publications from 
Soviet authors came to the writer's attention directly touching on the question 
of anti-Semitism, its bestiality amt the need to extirpate it. These are the 
UNESCO study, Equality of Rights Between Races and Nationalities in the 
USSR, by I. P. Tsamerian and S. L. Ronin (1962), Communism Creates Brother- 
hood, by M. Visinetsky, and Communism Ensures Equality, by P. S. Mstislavsky 
(London, 1962). 


20 


dish is done in editions that may total about 1,000 copies. Real 
integration has gone much further, and is on a much higher 
level, in the Soviet Union. But the tendency there, very definitely, 
is away from the decision of post-World War II and towards 
rebuilding Yiddish cultural activities and expressions in Yiddish 
itself. This process undoubtedly received a boost when the census 
returns in i960 showed that about 450,000 Soviet citizens stated 
that their first language was Yiddish. 

Of course, the general long-term commitment of Marxism- 
Leninism towards human integration as a whole should be borne 
in mind; it is reiterated in the Program of the XXII Congress 
of the CPSU, laying out the road from Socialism to Communism. 

It is basic to understanding the Soviet Union to keep in mind 
its commitment to a materialist philosophy and its principled 
opposition therefore to religious ideology. This is reemphasized 
in the present period with the planned move to a communist 
society. The number of churches—and synagogues—has been declin¬ 
ing and will continue to decline, as has the number of seminaries 
—and yesliivas. They all still exist and are maintained privately 
by those who feel the need for them, but the long-term commit¬ 
ment of the building of communism is away from religious ideology, 
practices and institutions. This has nothing to do with anti- 
Semitism; it is opposition to superstition and to the idealistic 
philosophical outlook—to obscurantism and mysticism. It is aimed 
not at Judaism per sc, but at all religious outlooks. 

Anti-Capitalism Is Nat Anti-Semitism 

It is necessary, also, to bear in mind the anti-capitalist com¬ 
mitment of Marxism and of the Soviet Union. This is relevant 
to the kind of attitude reflected in certain upper-class Jewish 
circles, where hostility to the bourgeoisie is confused—more or less 
deliberately—with anti-Semitism, or hostility to Jews per se. 

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, for example, the President of the 
Workl Zionist Organization, speaking in Jerusalem, May 2y, 1962, 
according to tire A r . K Times # "declared that Jewish communities 
abroad, while not seriously threatened by anti-Semitism, were fac¬ 
ing dangers of a different nature. He noted the revolutionary 
atmosphere prevalent iti many areas of the world and the fact that 
social upheavals could ruin Jews of the prosperous middle and 


21 














upper classes. I he classic example,' Dr. Goklmann said, 'is 
Lasuo s Cu£>a where a flourishing Jewish community was ruined 
overnight, not because of any anti-Semitic tendencies of the Castro 
regime but because of the social revolution he brought about.’ ” 

• J? i* hl V S ™ matlon ' then man y Jewish communities-not only 
in Cuba, but m Atlanta and Miami, too-are in for “ruination” in 
time. But the Jewish community under Batista and the Jewish 
communities in the midst of systematized Jim Crow do not live as 
real Jews, and do not live as full human beings. And in both 
cases, also, of course, the anti-Semitic poison is not absent. 

Refutations of “Soviet Anti-Semitism” 

Denials of the charge of anti-Semitism brought against the 
Soviet Union have come from several eminent sources that cannot 
be suspected—if that is the right wonl-of being Communistic. 
He have already quoted Professor Harold J. Berman of the Harvard 
Law School to that effect. Dr. Goklmann himself, in the above- 
cited speech, said that the Soviet Union "does not deny equal 
human and civil rights to Jews”; he differed with its approach 
to the matter of religion and of nationality-as one would expect 
from the head of World Zionism—but this is not a charge of anti- 
Semitism. . On the contrary, Dr. Goklmann specifically denied its 
existence in the USSR; this denial, made in May, 1962, was a re¬ 
iteration of what Dr. Goldmann had said earlier at the 25th World 
Zionist Congress, held in Jerusalem. 

In October, 1961, Andre Blumel, a prominent French attorney, 
and former head of the Zionist Organization in France, having 
returned from his fourth visit to the USSR, said: 

After carefully studying the situation there, I found 
no anti-Jewish discrimination. 

The cultures of the various Soviet nationalities are 
reaching ever newer heights and the USSR is determined to 
fight every manifestation of anti-Semitism. 

Besides the Jewish paper in Biro-Bidjan and the Moscow 
journal , Soviet Homeland, and besides the books that have 
appeared in Yiddish , there are in fhe Soviet Union fifteen 
performing groups in the Yiddish language. 

Jews are to be found holding various official posts , include 


22 


ing high military posts and prominent positions in the sci¬ 
ences. Jews are heads of such a vital ministry as atomic en- 
ergy. 

Jews in the Soviet Union are not ashamed of their Jewish 
origin. Jews must not be dragged in as pawns in th$ cold 
war. (Vochenblatt, November 2, 1961). 

These are the findings, as of the end of 1961, by die former 
President of the Zionist Organization of France. They are in ac¬ 
cordance with the vast body of evidence. It is clear that the 
Soviet Union is a remarkably cleansed country so far as anti- 
Semitism is concerned and that, most certainly, the Government 
of the Soviet Union is not guilty of anti-Semitism. On the con¬ 
trary, the truth is that the Soviet Government is one of the few 
governments in the world committed to the extirpation of that 
fascistic poison. 

The Ultra-Right and the Cold War 

In the United States today, the rise of the ultra-Right and the 
accentuation of the danger of fascism are clear. The intensifica¬ 
tion of anti-Semitism, including violent assaults upon the property 
and the person of Jews, is a fact in our country at the present 
time and this certainly is related to the threat from the Right. 

Parties such as the National States Rights Party, the American 
National Party, the American Nazi Party, and the whole collection 
of Right-wing vermin from the White Citizens Council to the (so- 
called) Christian Anti-Communist Crusade are saturated in anti- 
Semitism and some of them put out literature openly calling for 
a policy of genocide so far as Jews are concerned. Here, for 
example, before me as I write these lines is the February, 1962 
issue of The Stormtrooper , a lavishly illustrated magazine pub¬ 
lished by Rockwell’s Nazi Party, in Virginia. On the cover, in 
color, is a Streicher-like caricature of what is labeled “A Miami 
Beach Kike”; inside are offered for sale, such choice objects as 
the "Jew Zoo—A portfolio of 20 brutal caricatures of some of the 
top Hebrews in our national life—plus Eleanor herself,” and 
"Ann Frank Soap Wrappers—Look absolutely genuine and guar¬ 
antee soap is wo percent kosher. Put it on regular cakes and 
delight your friends.” 

This is what is printed in the United States and goes through 

23 














the mails; and the editor of this magazine is not troubled by the 
McCarran Act! 

In the face of menaces real and awful as these are; in the face 
of the realities of the Cold War today and what a Hot War would 
mean with modern weaponry, the concocting of a frantic cam¬ 
paign denouncing the alleged "official Soviet anti-Semitism” is a 
service to no one except atom-maniacs and George Lincoln 
Rockwell. 

Among the greatest achievements of the Great October Social¬ 
ist Revolution of it) 17-despite fantastic difficulties and awful 
setbacks and fearful human failures—stand the building of So¬ 
cialism, breaking Hitler's back, creating a society with the lowest 
death rate in the world, the lowest illiteracy rate in the world, the 
lowest crime rate in the -world, the second mightiest industrial 
capacity in the world, and the least racism in the world. 

Remembering' what Gzarist Russia was-—the prison-house of na¬ 
tions and the land of institutionalized anti-Semitism, of the pale, 
the ghetto and the pogrom—and seeing what, the Union of Soviet 
Socialist Republics is today-a land where racism is outlawed, 
where anti-Semitism is considered barbarism, and where scores of 
nationalities live in equality and fraternity, one must hold this to 
be a signal achievement of the Revolution and a powerful tribute 
to the Marxist answer to -the question of racial and national op¬ 
pression. 

Americans must labor not to intensify hostility towards the 
Land of Socialism but to develop a sense of friendship for that 
country and its more than two hundred million peoples. What is 
needed by all Americans—and most certainly, what is needed by 
Jews in America-is not the freezing of the Cold War, but the end¬ 
ing of that War. The truth about the two and a half million Jews 
now living in the USSR will serve to enhance Soviet-American 
friendship, and so play its part in preventing world war. 

* # # 

The author wishes to acknowledge his great indebtedness to the Morning 
Frdheit, Jewish Currents, and Vochenblatt (Toronto), and particularly to the 
writings of Paul Nomck, Morris U> Schappes, J. Gershmtm , Will Simon, and 
Chaim Sutler. The responsibility for views expressed and for all inadequacies 
remains, of course, solely my own _H. A. 


H