The success of the campaign for the assimilation of the Jewish and other national minorities in Soviet Russia has been started, it was revealed by the new Ukrainian Commissar for Education at a meeting of the Ukrainian Commissariat for Education in Charkow, who described the activities of such national groups as Jews and Ukrainians, as manifestations of a “narrow nationalism and chauvinism.”
The new policy had resulted in a rapid growth of assimilation, the Commissar continued. At the last census, in Kiew for example, only 28 percent of the Jewish children had given Yiddish as their mother-tongue.
“We are fighting a bloc consisting of Jewish, Ukrainian and other nationalists and chauvinists who are opposed to the Russian proletarian culture,” another speaker declared. “Jewish schools and kindergartens have been opened in places where there was absolutely no necessity for them,” another speaker asserted. Yet another declared that the Russian language, “the language of Pushkin, of Lenin and of Stalin” had practically been boycotted in favor of the minority languages.
Side by side with this, a press campaign has been started, which even the Yiddish papers have joinedâ€”voluntarily or not. The Jews and the Ukrainians are accused of working hand in hand to further their nationalistic aims. The Jews are blamed for their clannishness and chauvinism, Jewish judges are being accused of undue leniency towards Jewish prisoners, Jewish leaders of collective farms are accused of favoring Jews in the admission to these farms, and so on.
The Yiddish paper, Der Stern, tries to prove its allegation of “nationalistic chauvinism” by pointing out that of 140 men who were accused of stealing or damaging State property, 119 were Ukrainians and only 21 Jews. From these figures the paper goes on to draw some very strange conclusions. “Is this merely because the Jews are more honest, and cannot steal,” the paper asks, “or is it not rather because the Jews protect each other and refuse to report each other for such crimes?”