Klutznick Reports to B’nai B’rith Council on Anti-semitism in Russia

Prejudiced attitudes toward Jews are commonplace among people living in the European area of the Soviet Union, the B’nai B’rith International Council reported at its annual meeting here today. Analysis of a series of “depth interviews” of Soviet refugees and emigres “strongly indicates that after 25 years of Communist rule, popular anti-Semitism remains deeply embedded in the Soviet culture,” declared Philip M. Klutznick, Council chairman.

The published study, prepared by Dr. William Korey, the Council’s research director, showed that 35 percent of the respondents held anti-Semitic attitudes. Of this group, 10 percent were “violently hostile.” Another 25 percent held negative stereotypes about Jews. The sampling was conducted in 1950-51 by Harvard University’s Russian Research Center. Former Soviet citizens who had involuntarily left their homeland, were probed for their views and attitudes on a wide variety of subjects.

Mr. Klutznick said there is “no available evidence” that Soviet authorities have taken any action “to reduce negative stereotypic thinking about Jews.” The study showed that about eight percent of the respondents recalled the Soviet statute which forbids anti-Semitism but most of them considered the law “a device demonstrating that Jews were favored by the regime.” The study also showed that “violent hostility was not limited to the unsophisticated” and that “prejudice toward Jews was particularly strong among Ukrainians.”

About ten percent of those interviewed, including many who registered no hostile attitudes towards Jews, spoke freely about widespread anti-Semitism in the USSR, the study said. The small number of Jews in the sampling also reported that anti-Semitism was “strong” in the Soviet Union.

The Council concluded its sessions by reelecting Mr. Klutzrick chairman. A surprise presentation of the B’nai B’rith President’s Medal, the organization’s highest award, was made to him at a banquet that opened the two-day meeting. In presenting the award, B’nai B’rith president, Label Katz, cited Mr. Klutznick as “a leader among leaders in his vision, dynamism and eloquence, as spokesman the world over for creative progress in contemporary Jewish life.”

Elected Council regional vice chairmen were Frank Goldman, of Lowell, Mass.; Jack Morrison, of London Paul Jacob, of Mulhouse, Francil Irvin Epstein, of Tel Aviv and Egon Glucksmann, of Buenos Aires.

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