Truth of Minsk Synagogue Story Reiterated in Face of Soviet Denial

The Novosti Press Agency, an official news service of the Soviet Government with headquarters in Moscow, denied this weekend that demolition of the synagogue at Minsk had begun recently while the congregants were attending services in the house of worship.

The denial was made in a letter to the New York Herald Tribune, which originally published the report about the tearing down of the Minsk synagogue. Boris Ustinov, a correspondent for Novosti, wrote the newspaper that he had personally visited Minsk and found the report untrue.

The Herald Tribune, however, replied with an editorial note, stating: “The sources who made the Minsk story available to the Herald Tribune insist that the tearing down of the synagogue began without warning while congregants were at prayer. These sources have proved highly reliable. One of the prime functions of the Novosti Agency has been to act as an apologist for the regime, particularly on stories relating to the status of Soviet Jews.”

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