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Soviet Authorities in Lvov Close Down the Last Synagogue in City

The only synagogue in Lvov, capital of Western Ukraine, in the Soviet Union, has been closed down, leaving the 30,000 Jews in that city of nearly a half-million population without a single house of worship, according to a report published here today by the Sunday Telegraph.

The shutdown, according to the newspaper, was the culmination of a year-long campaign carried on by the Communist press and by authorities at Lvov, topped by a demand in the Lvov Pravda, organ of the local Communist Party, which stated: “The time has come finally to close the synagogue, which has become a shelter for idlers, speculators, parasites and money grabbers.”

Last spring, the Sunday Telegraph reported, articles appeared in the controlled press of Lvov, linking the synagogue with “economic crimes.” Pointing out that the local authorities were making of the Lvov Jews “a scapegoat in the campaign against economic offenses,” the newspaper reported that letters from “honest workers” and from “disillusioned believers” were printed in the Lvov press as part of the drive to discredit the synagogue.

Later, several members of the synagogue’s board of directors were arrested and charged with “profiteering and hooliganism.” Finally, the local Pravda printed a slander to the effect that the “synagogue’s saints are dividing the profits” allegedly resulting from their economic crimes. The demand for absolute closure of the house of worship ended the campaign.

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