The “Dollar inquisition” has been renewed in Soviet Russia by Communist officials and members of the Gepeu and acting upon instructions issued from Moscow on August 1st, Jews are being tortured in an effort to secure American dollars they are alleged to have.
This assertion is made by the “Forward” on the basis of letters received from relatives in Russia and sent to the “Forward” by a number of its readers, in a preface to quotations from the letters.
“Dear Friend,” says one letter, “I appeal to you on a matter very vital to me, and it is impossible for me to write all. I was arrested with my poor innocent nephew, a young lad. We can ransom ourselves only through the payment of $10 or $15. I beg you therefore to send me this sum quickly.
“They arrested us and are keeping us confined. Food is not given us. If you do not send the money quickly, I will surely die in prison. Send me the money by telegraph from Berlin and stipulate in advance that the money be paid over to me in dollars.”
Another letter quoted comes from a writer in a different section of Russia where half of the Jewish population was arrested in order to get dollars, according to the paper:
“Late one night there came a tap on the window: ‘Open,’ I said to mother. The signal for the cellar of the Gepeu!
“They entered and I went with them to the cellar of the Gepeu. There were already some 65 people in the cellar. Every few minutes their number was increased. By morning there were some 120 people. There was no room for all of us to stand up. The heat was stifling, making it impossible for us to breathe and there was no water. We almost burned up with thirst. And we dared utter no word of complaint.
“At eleven o’clock an officer of the Gepeu arrived and demanded that we give him either gold or dollars. We are all dead souls, without funds even to buy a pound of bread. What are we to do? We must remain here and die of the heat packed together like sardines for we have no foreign valuta and he refuses to take Soviet currency.
“Later in the day we are taken up to the Gepeu official one by one. There the demand for money or gold is repeated. One by one we return to our cellar, for none of us has even two Soviet roubles for a pound of bread.
“Food is delivered once a day. But who of us is able to eat.
“Late in the night we are again taken to the official who reiterates the demand: ‘Give us money.’ And again we are led back. We are in the corridor ready to descend once more, when we are told that several of us, old people, will be released. Praise be the Lord! But the others are still confined, among them three of our relatives…. Seventy-nine people of the town are held by the Gepeu.”