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British Jewry Appeals to Moscow to Remit Death Sentences of Vilna Jews

The Board of Deputies of British Jews today issued a “solemn appeal” to the supreme authorities of the USSR for the remission of the death sentences imposed by a Soviet court in Vilna upon four Lithuanian Jews convicted of alleged currency offenses. Sir Barnett Janner, president of the Board, issued the following statement at the end of today’s meeting of the central representative body of British Jewry:

“The Board of Deputies of British Jews wishes to express its deep sense of shock and abhorrence at the savage sentences of capital punishment reported to have been passed on a number of Jews in Lithuania, following upon similar charges and death sentences in other parts of the USSR. Such reports of the trials as are available, indicated by their suggestions and innuendos against Jews and Judaism an intensification of anti-Jewish measures made increasingly manifest in recent years.”

The Board’s appeal requested not only the remission of the death sentences but also “a reversal generally of the present harsh and discriminatory action against Jews in the USSR.” At the same time the Board announced today that a group of lay and religious Jewish leaders from Hungary will visit here next month “to make contact with the Anglo-Jewish community.” The Hungarian leaders are scheduled to attend the Board’s next meeting, in March.