The correspondence from Moscow, published in the Jewish Daily Bulletin, concerning the appearance of the seventh volume of the new Russian Soviet Encyclopedia of Literature, may spur the anti-Semites to renew their attack on the Jews because of their “domination” of Soviet Russia. It was originally intended to devote two per cent of the total space of the Encyclopedia to Yiddish literature and Jewish writers, but it was afterward decided to give from ten to twelve per cent, of the space. That should be conclusive proof to the Jew-baiters that the Jews are running the Soviet government.
The seventh volume, just published, contains an estimate of Mendele Mocher Seforim, the “grandfather” of Yiddish literature, and more space is devoted to him in this volume than to any other Russian writer. Not only does the article dwell on Mendele’s achievements as the pathfinder in Yiddish literature, but, he is also depicted as having introduced in his works the motif of the struggle of the people against the Jewish oligarchy, the Kahal, and as having delineated “the exploitation of the poverty-stricken Jewish masses” by the so-called leaders of the Jewish community.
The creative literary contributions of Sholom Asch, Bergelson, Bialik, M. L. Halperin, Peretz Hirschbein, Jacob Dinesohn and Yehoash and numerous other writers of great talent have been evaluated in the first six volumes of the Soviet Encyclopedia. It is true that their works are analyzed not only from the literary viewpoint, but they are judged also in accordance with proletarian standards. Thus Sholom Asch is described as “the poet of the dying Jewish past, the artist and ideologist of Jewish nationalist prosperity.” Bialik is classed as a great poet but a “narrow nationalist,” who sees the way out of the Jewish tragedy in his grandfather’s sacred tomes which he has turned into a religion without faith. The Yiddish poet Menachem is styled a “national chauvinist.”
The creative cultural attainments of the Yiddish and Hebrew writers are accorded adequate recognition in the Soviet Encyclopedia, even though the appraisals are colored by political bias. That should suffice for the reactionary Russian White Guards, who are still dreaming of the past glories of Black Russia, to convince them that Soviet Russia is dominated by the Jews and that the Jews are plotting to bring about a world revolution.
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