Ex-communist Leader Says Jews in Russia Will Never Assimilate
Menu JTA Search

Ex-communist Leader Says Jews in Russia Will Never Assimilate

Download PDF for this date

Joseph B. Salsberg, for 12 years a member of the Canadian Parliament representing the Communist Party, asserted here that the Jews of the Soviet Union will never be assimilated. The former Communist leader, who quit his party in 1957, in protest against anti-Semitism in the USSR, said there is a great reserve of resistance by Soviet Jews who want to preserve their religion and culture. He held also that there is “a liberalizing wind now blowing through the Soviet Union.”

Mr. Salsberg was the keynote speaker at a banquet here concluding a three-day conference of 200 teenage members from YMHA’s and YWHA’s from this city, Hamilton, Oshawa, London, Ottawa and Montreal. He told the teenagers that there is dissatisfaction inside the Soviet Union over discrimination and lack of democracy.

Comparing the life of the young Jew inside Russia and the West, Mr. Salsberg said in Russia the Jew has the advantage of free education and a grant to go to university. But in the universities there is an element of restriction which, he said, was hard to discover and to which no one would admit. “It is taken for granted a Jewish boy or girl needs higher marks than others to gain university entry, which in itself is discrimination,” he stated.

“In employment,” he said, “Jews are not welcome in the higher echelons of the armed forces, the diplomatic services and certain other spheres. But apart from these, employment is there for those who want it. One of the greatest offences in Russia today is the fact that the government seems to follow a policy of assimilation of the Jews. To me that is a crime against the democratic rights of individuals and against any national or religious group,” he stated, adding that Jews in Russia did not have adult or youth centers, a press, theater, the right to emigrate or an organization to speak on their behalf.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund