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Drive on Judaism in Soviet Farm Colonies Given Fresh Spurt

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The campaign against the Jewish religion in Soviet Russia is being conducted with the greatest of energy, and a new anti-religious campaign has now been started in Biro-Bidjan, the Jewish agricultural settlement in Siberia.

“The Atheist”, central organ of the “Militant Atheists” in Biro-Bidjan, devotes a long article to the campaign. “Until recently,” the article says, “anti-religious work in Biro-Bidjan was very neglected, and there was no planned anti-religious propaganda of any sort. Not even the mass campaigns that usually take place all over Russia twice a year, before Passover and before the Autumn holidays, reached Biro-Bidjan, and if an anti-religious evening was organized, it was a failure, because the people had not been prepared for it.

This, the Atheist explains, was due to the mistaken belief of some of the leaders. The theory had prevailed that anti-religious propaganda was unnecessary in Biro-Bidjan, since it was a new country, in which there had never been any rabbis or synagogues or any other religious institutions, and in which the people would naturally be free of religious traditions, and would soon forget all the religious “tom-foolery.”

This theory proved to be wrong the Atheist declares, and continues to give a number of examples of religious activity among the colonists. Some had brought a ### over from Chabarowsk for the Jewish holidays and formed a minyon Last Yom Kippur some refused to work. Last Easter a number of working-class families baked matzoths for Passover. In Birokan flour had been distributed among the settlers instead of bread at Passover, in order that they might be able to bake matzoths. In the collective farms “Waldheim” and Birofeld” attempts had been made to organize minyans and there were cases of workers refusing to go to work on the Jewish holidays. There had even been a case of a member of the Young Communist League refusing to enter a room in which a corpse lay, because he was a Cohen.

All these cases, the Atheist declares go to prove that religious prejudices have not yet been completely uprooted, and show how false was the opportunistic theory that anti-religious work was unnecessary in Biro-Bidjan.

Now, declares the Atheist, from an office, the Central Council of the Atheist League and the publishers of the Atheist a wide-spread campaign is being conducted. Small anti-religious libraries have been distributed among the villages and settlements, and anti-religious classes and evenings, as well as clubs, have been formed. The article ends with an appeal for a strengthened anti-religious campaign.

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