NEW YORK (Sep. 4)
The Warsaw newspaper Volkstimme, Yiddish-language Communist organ in Poland, has been accused by Leonid Ilytchev, chief press officer of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, of having printed “slanderous, anti-Soviet” material when it revealed that Jewish writers and cultural leaders in the USSR had suffered from anti-Semitic persecutions during the Stalin regime. The disclosures appeared in Volkstimme last April.
Ilytchev’s. “bitter, personal” condemnation of the Volkstimme was voiced in an interview in Moscow with Tabitha Petran, correspondent of the National Guardian here.
Jewish cultural leaders and writers did suffer persecutions, Ilytchev admitted to Miss Petran, but the motive was “not anti-Semitic.” The Jewish persecutees suffered merely as part of an overall drive against Soviet intellectuals of many national origins, he maintained. “We have corrected our mistakes against Jews as against other people,” he told the correspondent.
The press chief told Miss Petran that the Soviet government would not make public any details about past persecutions, but would follow its aim of rehabilitating those who had suffered unjustly. He also insisted that other reports of discriminations against Jews were “incorrect,” and he denied that there were quotas for the employment of Jews in government work, He declared however that Jews, like members of other nationalities in the USSR, must indicate their-nationality when applying for work, but insisted that implied no “discrimination.”
The Freheit, New York Yiddish Communist newspaper, in an editorial yesterday, expressed dissatisfaction with Ilytchev’s explanations and called upon the Soviet Government openly to declare itself against anti-Semitism and racial hatred “as in the days of Lenin.”