Jews Held in Slave Camps in Russia, Jewish Committee Reports
Menu JTA Search

Jews Held in Slave Camps in Russia, Jewish Committee Reports

Download PDF for this date

Thousands of the estimated 2,000,000 Jews still active in the Soviet Union are prisoners in Soviet slave labor and internment camps, it was charged yesterday by the American Jewish Committee in a report on the condition of Jews in the U. S. S. R.

The report named some of the forced labor camps where Jews were imprisoned: 1. A camp for women in the Donets basin containing only Catholic nuns and Jewish women; 2. A camp for Rumanian refugee Jews in Kareganda; 3. A camp for Jewish slave laborers in Kazakatan 4. Internment camp No. 99/2 in Karaganda where there were many Jewish families; 5. A big concentration camp in Aktiubinsk with many thousands of Jewish prisoners.

Facts garnered by the American Jewish Committee indicated that the principal charges employed against Jews imprisoned in Soviet slave camps were “unreliability” because of their Western or bourgeois origin, “cosmopolitanism,” “Zionism,” “Jewish nationalism, ” “bourgeois objectivism, ” “abstract scholasticism, ” and “reactionary ideology. “

The report asserted that anti Semitism was increasing in the Soviet Union, citing anti-Semitic outbreaks in a number of small Ukrainian towns. “There were assaults on individual Jews even in Moscow and Odessa, ” the report said. “Soviet officials were indifferent to Jewish complaints and took no effective steps to curb anti-Semitic incidents, although anti-Semitic propaganda was still outlawed by the Soviet constitution and criminal law.”

There was no Jewish communal life, schools, cultural organizations, periodicals or Jewish institutions of any kind in the Soviet Union except for a few remaining synagogues, the Committee report charged, adding that Moscow, a city with an estimated 300,000 Jews, had three synagogues.

As evidence of the official attitude of the Soviet Government against Jews, the report stated: “Jewish rabbis are no longer seen at official Soviet functions, although it was a regular practice to invite representatives of all ethnic groups and to encourage the clergy, both Christian and Moslem, to attend in clerical garb. A new Committee for the Defense of Peace, formed in the summer of 1951, included representatives of the Orthodox, Armenian, and Lutheran churches and of the Moslem religious community, but no representatives of the Jews.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund