Jewish, Non-jewish Labor Leaders Protest Execution of Alter, Ehrlich at N.Y. Meeting

The execution by the Soviet authorities of Victor Alter and Henryk Ehrlich, leaders of the Jewish Socialist Bund in Poland, was assailed here tonight by prominent Jewish labor leaders at a mass protest meeting at Mecca Temple.

Denying the Russian charges that the two executed men had sought to induce Red Army forces to make a separate peace with the Nazis, David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, charged that Alter and Ehrlich were executed because they were “opponents of all dictatorships, including the Communistic dictatorship.” Adolph Held, chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee, who was associated with both Ehrlich and Alter in Poland, reviewed their activities in behalf of labor in that country and also denied the credibility of the Soviet charges. Abraham Cahan, editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, stated that the “marvelous heroism of the Russian Army in the struggle to destroy Hitlerism should be uppermost in the minds of every friend of liberty and progress,” but “my last word on this occasion is a word of protest against the murder of these two great idealists on a charge which is an outrageous fabrication.”

William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, lauded the two Polish-Jewish labor leaders and declared that it was impossible to believe the charges against them. He added, however, that “we must not permit our emotions to cloud our judgment and lead us into actions that will interfere with what is and must be our supreme objective – victory in this war.” Other speakers included Senator James Mead, who spoke from Washington, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, James B. Carey, secretary of the CIO and several others.

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