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Ex-officer of Red Army Testifies on Biro-bidjan in Washington

Hershel Weinrauch, a former Jewish officer in the Soviet armed forces who escaped from the Soviet Union and is considered the only person now in the United States who has an intimate knowledge of life in Biro-Bidjan–the section of the USSR which was designated by the Soviet authorities before World War II to become a Jewish region–appeared here as a government witness in a case concerning the objection of the Internal Revenue Department to income tax reduction of contributions made in this country for work in Biro-Bidjan. Following Mr. Weinrauch’s testimony, the defendants have been given 75 days in which to file briefs.

The case concerns Joseph Morgenstern of Cleveland, and his three children, who from 1945 to 1949 made substantial contributions to Biro-Bidjan which they deducted from their income tax as philanthropy. The family, which is engaged in the electric alarm manufacturing business, allegedly reported to have sent $220,000 to Birobidjan, much of it in heavy machinery and contributed $80,000 to Yikuf, a Jewish cutual farbend in New York.

Internal Revenue purported to show through their questioning of Mr. Weinrauch that Birobidjan was a political entity, not a philanthropic one. Mr. Weinrauch’s testimony indicated that much of the machinery sent probably never got beyond Moscow and its environs; the area was not Jewish in character and actually Jews were compelled and ordered to leave, he amongst them.

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