Goldmann Appeals to Russia to Give Jews Same Rights As in Poland
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Goldmann Appeals to Russia to Give Jews Same Rights As in Poland

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Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, today appealed to the Soviet Government to grant the Jews in the Soviet Union at least the same rights which the Jews enjoy in Communist Poland. He pointed out that the Jews in Poland are allowed to group themselves within a Jewish Cultural Union, to publish Jewish books and newspapers, and also to emigrate freely wherever they may choose to go. He demanded that the Moscow Government allow the same rights to Jews in the Soviet Union.

Voicing his appeal from the floor of the Assembly of the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Goldmann said that “Poland can serve as an example” “for the Soviet Government.” He emphasized that other Communist countries–even some that have stopped Jewish emigration–are giving the Jews more freedom in their communal activities than Moscow. He mentioned Rumania and Hungary, where a limited amount of Jewish communal activity does take place.

The World Jewish Congress leader said that while the anti-Jewish persecutions and deportations of the Stalin era have ceased in the Soviet Union, the present regime there does not hesitate to use “very strong measures indeed.” He warned against excessive slogans and exaggerations which, he said, play into the Soviet hands. He appealed a policy based on “reason,” calmness and the estimate of what the Jews in Russia really want.

Dr. Goldmann expressed his belief that the situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union “is difficult but not desperate.” He told the Assembly that the relaxation of tensions between East and West would improve their situation and would also benefit Israel.

Moshe Sharett, former Israel Premier, addressing the Assembly, demanded that Soviet Jewry be allowed to become “an integral part” of the Jewish people, and should be permitted to “actively and legitimately” participate in the activities of the Jewish people as a whole.


Earlier today, Dr. Goldmann expressed the belief that, following his recent talks with Chancellor Adenauer of West Germany, an early arrangement for German compensation to Jewish victims of Nazis in Poland and Rumania was in view.

An Italian delegate, Dr. S. Cantoni, asked the WJC to support establishment of Israeli diplomatic relations with Germany. Speakers from Israel and Belgium sharply criticized the Israel Government for its arms deal with Germany, and asked that the Israel Government reverse its decision to sell arms to Germany.

Rabbi Max Nussbaum, of the United States delegation, told the Assembly that, in spite of his personal feelings, due to the loss of members of his family who were victims of Nazism, he would have taken the same course as did Prime Minister David Ben Gurion on selling arms to Germany.

An impassioned plea for resumption of Jewish emigration from Rumania was voiced at the session today by Dr. Walter Abeleff, of Israel. Pointing out that he was speaking “without partisan feelings,” Dr. Abeleff emphasized “the tragic and painful problems” resulting from the closing of Rumania’s doors to further Jewish emigration toward Israel.

“Relatives are being separated from their families,” he stated, “husbands from wives, parents from children.” He urged the Assembly to reiterate the World Jewish Congress “basic views regarding the necessity of the reunification of families.”

Differences of opinion as to the seat of the World Jewish Congress developed today following a report by Dr. Isaac Schwarzbart, who suggested that the WJC headquarters should remain in New York. His report was opposed by Israel M. Sieff, leader of the World Jewish Congress in London, who proposed that the headquarters be transferred from New York to Europe.

Dr. Schwarzbart also suggested the establishment by the WJC of a “Goldmann Institute for Jewish Studies,” to be set up in Israel, and presented a four-year plan of organizational work for the World Jewish Congress. One of these points foresees the holding of a world conference of Ashkenazi and Sephardi leaders to discuss ways and means for closer cooperation between the two branches of the Jewish people. Action on Dr. Schwarzbart’s report will be decided upon at a closed session of the 64-member organizational committee of the Assembly, which will meet Sunday.

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