SAN FRANCISCO (Jul. 5)
Soviet First Deputy Premier Frol Kozlov, in a statement made to newspapermen escorting him on his present visit to the United States, said that synagogues are not forcibly closed in the Soviet Union, but avoided answering the charge that Jews in the USSR were being omitted from the lists of scientists. He went out of his way to state that Soviet Jews “live a much better life than do Jews in Israel.”
Mr. Kozlov was replying to charges on anti-Jewish discrimination in the Soviet Union made last week by three prominent American non-Jews on the basis of a “dispassionate, well-documented study” in Soviet Survey, published by the Congress for Cultural Freedom. (See JTA Bulletin of Friday, July 3). The three non-Jewish personalities–Dr. Donald Harringion, Dr. John Holmes and Norman Thomas–appealed to Mr. Kozlov to have the Soviet ban of Jewish culture lifted and to abolish all other restrictions against Jews in the Soviet Union. The statement by Mr. Kozlov replying to these charges reads:
“These reports on Jews are a slander on the Soviet Union and on its policies toward Jews. In the Soviet Union, Jews, like any other nationality, occupy their worthy place in society. We have ministers and deputy ministers who are of Jewish nationality. We have some prominent men of science, including Locin Prize winners, who are of Jewish nationality. Some of our ablest artistically creative people are Jews.
“As to the accusation regarding the slights toward the religious feelings of Jews, that is completely a fabrication. They are completely free in the practice of their religion. No synagogues have been closed in the Soviet Union. These charges are slander. There are synagogues in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev, for example.
“I personally know a rabbi in Leningrad. When I worked there, he approached me and asked that the necessary ingredients for matzos be put on sale there. We did sell these ingredients and the Jews were free to celebrate the holiday in the traditional way.
“I had many friends with whom I studied and who are still my friends of Jewish nationality. The same is true of the other members of our Government. It should suffice to note that the wife of (Marshal Kliment Y.) Voroshilov (titular chief of state), who unfortunately died recently, was Jewish. The wife of the member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (Andrel A.) Andreyev is also Jewish.
“God give it that the Jews in any other country should enjoy the same life as they do in the Soviet Union. At the least they live a much better life in the Soviet Union than they do in Israel. By the way: there were Jews who at their own request left the Soviet Union for Israel. Then many of them wrote letters to the Soviet Union saying they were having a bad time and wanted to come back.”