Soviet Officials and Communists Divided on Synagogue Confiscations

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Conflicting opinions prevail among government officials and the Jewish section of the communist party with regard to the confiscation of synagogues for workmen’s clubs, according to what is termed authoritative information received here.

It is stated that the Soviet Commissar of Education Lunacharsky and the Soviet vice-president, Smidawitch are against the confiscation policy, believing it to be a provocation of religious elements. The conversion of many synagogues into workmen’s clubs this summer by the Jewish section of the Communist party is considered illegal. The Jewish section, however, prevents the leaders of the Jewish communities from complaining to the authorities by intimidating them.

In a despatch from Russia it is reported that the synagogue in Pogrenischeze, near Berdiczef, has been turned into a cinema. When the leaders of the community protested, the local Soviet declared the action to be legal as the “cinema promotes culture.” When it was later found that the Torah Scrolls had been torn a day of fast and mourning was declared by the pious Jews.

A number of children who attended religious classes in Kiev were summoned to the Ogpu, the Soviet political police. Several of the teachers were sentenced to five months imprisonment and one to three months at hard labor for conducting the school.

NEXT STORY