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U.S. Senate Hears Report on Closing of Synagogues in Soviet Union

A report on the closing of synagogues in the Soviet Union was given on the floor of the Senate today by Senator Kenneth B. Keating who simultaneously voiced an appeal to the “world conscience” to protest the liquidation of Jewish religious institutions by the Soviet authorities.

Stressing the recent closing of the historic synagogue in Czernovitz, Sen. Keating said that half of the inhabitants there were Jewish. “It is understandable that Jews in the Soviet Union regard this action of the Soviet Government as an evil omen,” he said. “It is no wonder that they are reported in a state of near panic.” He termed the Czernovitz case “the latest of a series of ominous developments in the Soviet Union’s treatment of its Jewish population.”

Sen. Keating said that events were “only too reminiscent of the early days of Nazism in Germany.” He reported that the Soviet Union had banned even Jewish private prayer service–the gathering of the Minyan–in private homes. He said the prayer for the dead “must either be conducted clandestinely at the risk of prosecution, or not at all.”

Enumerating various anti-Jewish moves, Sen. Keating told the Senate of restrictions of matzoh baking in various Russian cities, the suppression of Yiddish books, persecution of persons accused of Zionism, and a wide campaign against Jewish religious services. He noted that synagogues in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev were allowed to remain open “where foreign visitors may see them.”

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