STOCKHOLM (Aug. 4)
Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, sharply accused the Soviet Union today of attempting “not only to extirpate Jewish institutional and cultural life” in the USSR but of striving also to wipe out “the very sense of Jewishness among the three million Jews” under the Kremlin regime.
Dr. Prinz voiced his attack against Moscow in an address at a plenary session this afternoon of the Assembly of the World Jewish Congress, which is now taking place here with 300 delegates from more than 40 countries in the world in attendance.
Declaring that the Jews in Soviet Russia “are isolated and defenseless, ” the leader of the American Jewish Congress said: “The only hope for Soviet Jewry is that worldwide public opinion may persuade Soviet authorities to abandon their anti-Jewish policies and restore a minimum of opportunities for the preservation of Jewish cultural and religious identity. “
“Officially,” Dr. Prinz continued, “the Jews of Russia are constituted as a distinct nationality, and the identity card of Soviet Jews describes their nationality as ‘Jewish. ‘ Yet the Jewish nationality group is the only one amongst those so recognized which enjoys no such corporate existence.
“There are no Yiddish newspapers in the Soviet Union, no Jewish publishing house, no Yiddish theatres, no Jewish cultural or communal institutions. This anti-Jewish bias goes beyond the anti-religious or irreligious policies of the government. Even the secular Jew has no means of preserving his folk culture, ” the president of the American Jewish Congress stressed.
“Soviet Jews are likewise barred from participating in international Jewish bodies, from subscribing and receiving Jewish books and periodicals published abroad. The fulfillment of this policy received its climatic expression in 1948, when several hundred Jewish writers were imprisoned, and a number were executed.
SOVIET ACTION AGAINST JEWS CONSIDERED “WORSE THAN ANTI-SEMITISM”
“Disabilities imposed against Jewish religious life are even more severe and stringent than the examples cited,” Dr. Prinz emphasized.
“While Soviet authorities are encouraging tourists to visit their country, my personally-collected information shows that only one American rabbi, who so designated himself on visa application, has been granted authority to enter the Soviet Union, ” he said.
It is up to the world, said Dr. Prinz, to rectify “this appalling situation” and free Soviet Jewry from their status as “victims of dual deprivation. “
Another severe attack on the Soviet treatment of Jews was voiced at the session by Shad Polier, another top leader of the American Jewish Congress. He was replying to a speech delivered last night by a member of the five-man team of observers from Poland who attacked Israel for its “link-up with the Western world. “
“It was sad,” Mr. Polier said, “to listen to a fellow Jew who looked askance only at the West while forgetting the grave tragedy of Russian Jewry. What is happening in the Soviet Union today is a new phenomenon without any parallel in Jewish history. It is something worse than anti-Semitism. It is anti-Jewishness. It is a very dangerous and assiduous campaign to carve out part of the Jewish people from the rest of their brethren. “