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Tolstoy Intervened for Jewish Scholar Victim of Discrimination

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A letter written by Tolstoy in 1884 to his friend the philosopher Nikolai Strakov, asking him to intervene with the authorities on behalf of Professor Lazar Minor, son of the then Chief Rabbi Miner of Moscow, who was being discriminated against by the Czarist Government. is published in the “Wiener Neue Freie Presse” in connection with the Tolstoy centenary.

In his letter, Tolstoy wrote: “This letter will be handed to you by a famous young scholar, Lazar Solomonovitch Minor, the son of my friend, the Jewish rabbi (Solomon Zalkind Miner. then Chief Rabbi of Moscow). Overcoming all obstacles put in his way because of his Jewish origin. he was at last on the point of being appointed lecturer at Moscow University when it was suddenly found that the appointment still had to be confirmed by the Minister. Would it not be possible for you to intervene on his behalf with the Minister or whoever it is who is responsible for the appointment? If it is possible, do so. I would make the journey myself and plead with the Minister, but I am afraid that I would only spoil things. This is a matter very close to my heart.”

The intervention apparently succeeded, for Professor Minor obtained his appointment to the lectureship. which he held up to the time of the February revolution. He was then given his professorship which had been denied him till the revolution removed the disability against Jewish professors. Professor Minor is now seventy-eight years of age.

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