Menu JTA Search

Russia Questions Jewish Employees About Relatives in Israel

Between March and June of this year Jewish employees of state-owned stores in the Soviet Union were called in by the authorities and questioned about friends and relatives in Israel or about their contacts with Israeli diplomatic personnel stationed in Moscow, according to a letter published in the London Daily Telegraph and signed by one Jan Olechowski.

The writer, who says his information was furnished by Jews who recently fled from Minsk and Odessa and from Eastern European countries, declares that four such Jewish employees were expelled from Odessa and that others are under the constant watch of the police. One Jew who received a bulletin from the Israeli legation in Warsaw was arrested and has not been heard from since, the letter states, adding that other Jews who had been in contact with the Israel legation sought to escape a similar fate and fled to the Middle East.

The writer maintains that anti-Semitism was always alive in Russia, but that from the moment the Jewish state was established the secret police and the civil administration was ordered to purge all Jewish elements suspected of sympathy with it. “Jews working in Soviet propaganda and information offices or on newspapers or in clubs or cultural center are now under close, constant scrutiny,” he writes. “Cosmopolitanism or Jewish nationalism is among the chief reasons for dismissals, expulsions and arrests.”

The letter concludes: “Another example of this anti-Semitic trend in Soviet policy was the expulsion in June from the Academy of Science of three well known Jewish professors of Chemistry–Kabacznik, Woikensztein and Syrkin.”

NEXT STORY