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Between the Lines

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Hundreds of Jews, former American citizens, are now besieging the United States consulate in Moscow, anxious to recover their American citizenship.

The majority of them were born in Russia. They lived in Russia under the Czar. They left Russia because of the anti-Jewish discrimination of the Czarist regime. They migrated to America because they sought freedom.


The Czarist regime was overthrown and they rushed back to their native country. The revolution in Russia seemed to them a dawn of a new day.

But then the Communist regime came. America severed relations with Russia. These naturalized American citizens became stranded. They were not Communists and so were not very happy to remain in the Soviet Union. They could not, however, return to the United States. As natives of Russia they had lost their American citizenship after staying two years in Russia.


The case of these ex-Americans now trying to return to the United States is perhaps the best argument against those who are associating Jews with Communism. Needless to say that if they were Communists they would never have made any efforts to return now to the States.

This case, however, need not be interpreted to mean that the Jews as a whole are in any way discriminated against in the Soviet Union today. It must be admitted that if there is any country in Europe where anti-Jewish discrimination is severely combatted, the Soviet Union is the country.


The recent decree issued by the Soviet government restoring full citizenship rights to members of the Jewish and non-Jewish clergy removes the last discrimination from which the Jews have suffered most. It relaxes the fight against religion and against the religious Jews. It enables the religious elements of the Jewish population to enjoy equal treatment with those who — according to the Soviet formula — consider religion an “opiate for the people.”

One may be very pessimistic as to the fitness of Biro-Bidjan for Jewish colonization, but the fact remains that the Soviet government, with its intention to proclaim Biro-Bidjan as a Jewish republic, is not only trying its best to solve the Jewish problem, but is far from forcing cultural assimilation upon the Jews, with which she is being charged.


It is quite natural for Jews who once lived in America to dislike the present mode of living in the Soviet Union and to make all possible efforts to return to the United States. The three million Jews of Russia, however, can not hope ever to migrate from their country. They have nowhere to migrate, anyway. Furthermore, their fate today is legally and even economically much better than the fate of the millions of Jews in Poland and in other countries.

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