Aspects of Jewish Life in Soviet Union Discussed on Moscow Radio

Aspects of Jewish life in the Soviet Union, which have been sharply criticized in the West, were the topics of three commentaries on the Moscow Radio, monitored here in the last few days, all of them defensive in tone.

The first broadcast, by a commentator named Adamov, “explained” that Hebrew Bibles were not being printed in the Soviet Union because “they have to be written by hand” and there were no such experts available. Adamov apparently had confused the method of preparing Torah Scrolls with that of printing Bibles, a standard printing procedure.

In the second broadcast, Aaron Vergelis, editor of the only Yiddish regular publication, Sovietische Heimland, recalled his recent visit to the United States and said he found anti-Semitism widely spread in the U.S. He proceeded to give figures on the percentage of Jews in the Soviet arts and sciences to prove that there is no anti-Jewish bias in the Soviet Union.

The third broadcast again featured Adamov in a discussion of the widely and severely criticized economic trials in Russia. He admitted there was a large percentage of Soviet Jews among those sentenced for alleged embezzlement and black marketeering. He insisted, however, that “the picture also has another side.” He then gave figures on Jews represented in various Soviet Scientific, scholarly and technological and other agencies. He argued that the admittedly large percentage of Jews among those sentenced for “economic crimes” was not an indication of the treatment generally of Jews in Russia.