Lithuania Bans Zionist Organization, Jewish Religious Societies

The authorities have closed down several newspapers and a number of Jewish religious societies and all Zionist organizations and funds, it was officially disclosed today. The action followed registration of all newspapers and organizations, instituted by the regime established following occupation of Lithuania by Soviet troops.

It was explained officially that following the registration some “reactionary bodies” voluntarily discontinued their activities while others were closed by order of the Interior Ministry.

Closed newspapers included Lithuanian, Polish, Russian and Jewish, the last including the daily Wort and the weekly Moment. Among the Zionist organizations shut down was the Palestine Office, organization that facilitated emigration to Palestine.

On the other hand, the Wilno Jewish Community and all “progressive” Jewish organizations are continuing their activities.

The entire population is actively preparing for the general elections to the Sejm (lower house of Parliament) scheduled for July 14. One of the major electoral issues is a fight against chauvinism and race hatred. Jews are among the candidates in various districts, while the former Sejm did not have a single Jewish member.

The franchise has been extended to all inhabitants of the country aged 21 and over, including those living in the Wilno region, formerly part of Poland, provided they resided on Lithuanian territory on Sept. 1, 1939. Under the former electoral ordinance nearly half of the Wilno population had been disfranchised.

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