Treatment of Jews in Russia Termed ‘cultural and Spiritual Genocide’

Terming the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union as “cultural and spiritual genocide,” Dr. Israel Goldstein today reported to the American section of the World Jewish Congress his impressions of his visit to the Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland and Rumania. He said that he had found that the Jews in the Soviet Union did not share in the incipient relaxation in the general atmosphere stemming from “the liberalization policy initiated by Khrushchev.”

“While the Soviet leader had repudiated other phases of the Stalin terror, he had not as yet repudiated the anti-Semitic phase, and the policies of the present regime give cause for misgivings,” Dr. Goldstein reported. He urged the USSR to carry out a five-point program to equalize the treatment of Jews:

1. Jewish religious congregations be permitted to establish a central Jewish religious address, organize on a federal basis, choose the religious and lay heads, and that these be permitted to attend Jewish religious conferences abroad, and that Jewish religious representatives from abroad be permitted to attend conferences in the USSR.

2. The training school in Moscow for rabbis and other religious officials be permitted to invite and accommodate additional students.

3. Permission be given for the Jewish prayerbook printed in 1957, in a limited quantity, to be reprinted now in a larger number of copies.

4. Facilities for the baking of matzoth for Passover, to be provided in time for the coming Passover; arrests and imprisonment for the sale of matzoth before last Passover to be discontinued, and those who have been imprisoned to be released.

5. Where new cemeteries are required, the right of Jews to have separate burial grounds, as in the old cemeteries, to be respected and provided for.

Dr. Goldstein expressed the hope that the Khrushchev regime would be remembered for a “full restoration to the status quo ante in the encouragement of Yiddish culture and in full equality for Jews with other religious denominations in the exercise of their religious traditions.”

In his visits to the smaller Jewish communities in Poland, Rumania and Hungary, Dr. Goldstein found that their future “as Jews is dim. While synagogue worship is permitted, the religious education of the children is at best under a severe handicap as a result of the atheistic character of Communist governments and of the government schools,” he reported. “Marriages outside the Jewish faith are widespread. Because of the meager numbers and the difficult conditions of Jewish life, few Jews whom I met were willing to say that it is likely to continue as a group entity for more than another generation.”

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