Jews’ Survival Due to Laughter and Music, Says Soviet Commissar

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

A demonstration in memory of Sholom Aleichem, in connection with the tenth anniversary of his death, was held here at one of the largest theattes. M. Lunatcharsky, the Minister of Education and Fine Arts, was the chief speaker.

The meeting was the culminating point in a series of gatherings held in the past few weeks in every town and village in the Soviet Union with a Jewish population. Thousands of people were present.

M. Lunatcharsky spoke for an hour and a half on Sholom Aleichim and his significance in literature and Jewish life. In the course of his address M. Lunatcharsky deals with the whole position of the Jews in trade. finance. culture. literature and revolution. He spoke of the history of the Jewish people. the oldest atistocracy in the world, as he called them, in comparison with whom other nations, not only a comparatively new nation like the Russians, but even nations with so fruitful a past as the English and the Italians were babes.

Passing in review the history of the martydom of the Jewish people. M. Lunatcharsky said that he found that the Jews had made themselves immune against annihilation by two methods: music and laughter. One of the best illustrations of this was in the birth of Chassidism out of the desire of the Jews to save themselves from their sufferings by joy and song. Sholom Aleichim was the expression of this Jewish desire. In contrast to other humorists like Mark Twain. Dickens and Tehechov. who had langhed out of the depths of their sadness. Sholom Aleichim had given them laughter and demanded it back from them a hundredfold. Although he was speacially Jewish, he added. Sholom Aleichim was more than merely a national writer. Through his national characteristics he had risen to the heisht of being a universal writer. Two-thirds of Sholom Aleichim belonged to the Jews, but the other third belonged to all mankind.

The second part of the evening was given over to readings from Sholom Aleichim’s works.

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