British Jews to Intervene for Russian Jewry with Soviet Envoy

The Board of Deputies of British Jews will seek an interview here with the Ambassador from the Soviet Union to discuss the current position of Jews in the USSR, according to an announcement today by Sir Barnett Janner, president of the Board.

“It is with great regret that we have to report that, in spite of indications of some lessening of Soviet-West tensions, there has been no sign of an improvement in the position of Soviet Jewry,” Sir Barnett reported at a meeting of the Board of Deputies. “We have frequently had to refer to restrictions on facilities for the practice of Judaism in the USSR; the inability of organizing Jewish life within the Soviet Union or of maintaining contact with Jews outside Russia; the plight of families torn asunder by the Nazis but not allowed to be reunited with relatives abroad; and the harsh penalties for alleged economic offenses for which an exceptionally high proportion of those sentenced have been Jews.

“Unfortunately, recent reports and statements, not only from Jewish but also from non-Jewish sources and leading personalities, reveal that this trend was not only continuing but even, in some aspects, being intensified.”

Emphasizing that the Board has issued many appeals on this subject to the Soviet authorities, Sir Barnett said: “In the better international atmosphere, the USSR should accord its Jewish minority the same possibilities accorded to other religious and national minorities, and take such humane steps as to permit members of Jewish families who wish to do so to be reunited with their relatives abroad. In the hope of furthering such improvement, which would be welcomed by world public opinion, we are proposing to ask the Soviet Ambassador to receive a delegation from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.”

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