LONDON (Jul. 1)
General Jacob Shmushkevitch, chief of the Soviet Air Force directing operations against the Luftwaffe, is a Lithuanian Jew, it was revealed here today by Lithuanian Jewish circles.
The 43-year-old general was born in Rokishkis, a small town in the Shavli district of Lithuania. His father, a tailor, still lives in the town, with his wife mending the trousers and jackets of the townspeople.
Jacob went to Russia with his father during the World War. Although his father wished him to learn the tailoring trade, Jacob, who was of strong physique, chose the work of dock laborer on the Volga, where he came in contact with Russian revolutionaries and joined their secret society.
When the Revolution broke out in 1917, he joined the Red Army and fought the White Guardist forces of General Denikin. Here started his military career. He was sent to a military academy and later took up aviation, becoming a famous pilot.
Several years ago he was already a member of the Air Staff and during the undeclared war with Japan he displayed great leadership abilities. When Russia started defense preparations for a possible war with Germany, Shmushkevitch was transferred to the west and played a leading part in the preparations.
He still speaks a good Yiddish. He visited his parents a year ago and stayed with them a week.
The Presidency of the Highest Soviet of the U.S.S.R. has conferred the title of “People’s Artists” (the highest honor open to members of the theatrical profession) on two Jewish actresses of the Stenislavski Theatre in Moscow, according to information reaching here. They are M.C. Goldin and M.L. Melcer.
They are the only two members of the Stanislavski Theatre company to be so honored. Other members of the company have received the title of “meritorious artists”–a less outstanding distinction.