LOS ANGELES (Aug. 25)
Solicitations of signatures for a petition urging the United Nations Human Rights Commission to exert its influence on the Soviet Government to end its persecution of Russian Jewry was under way and gained impetus today in major California cities. A group of leading California citizens today joined in endorsing the campaign for signatures, which was launched officially yesterday. The starting date was the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Stalin-Hitler pact which paved the way for Hitler’s attack on Poland and the beginning of World War II.
Among those endorsing the petition today were Methodist Bishop Gerald Kennedy; Dr. Max W. Bay, president of the Jewish Federation-Council of Greater Los Angeles; Samuel Otto, vice-president and Pacific Coast director of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union; Bert Gold, executive director of the Jewish Centers Association; and Lt. Gov. Glenn M. Anderson.
Gov. Edmund G. Brown had previously announced that he had signed the petition, while the Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday that this week would be called officially “Protest Week Against Soviet Anti-Semitism.”
The campaign is being sponsored by the Jewish Labor Committee and the Workmen’s Circle. Isidor Stenzor and Sam Paul, co-chairmen, said the California campaign was the start of a nationwide effort.
The petition calls on the UN body to urge the Soviet Government to end the “suppression of Jewish culture in the Soviet Union” by allowing Jewish intellectuals to express themselves in Yiddish in books, periodicals and the theater; and to permit the practice of the Jewish religion, including the training of rabbinical students and the publication and distribution of prayerbooks.
The petition also urges an appeal by the UN body to Soviet authorities to “end the discriminatory application of extremely severe penalties against Jews for alleged economic crimes,” and to ban by official Soviet Government action anti-Semitic propaganda, discrimination against Jews “in all areas of Soviet life” and to allow free emigration for Jews wishing to leave the Soviet Union.