Jewish Congregations in Soviet Asia Reported Being Persecuted

Soviet authorities in the Republic of Tadjikistan have been persecuting the few Jewish congregations in the area during the last few months, it was learned here today. The most serious of the persecution, according to reports reaching the West, is taking place in the city of Dushambe, where the congregation’s Ashkenazic rabbi and chairman of the Ashkenazic Jewish community, Rabbi Shlomo Shapiro, was dismissed on explicit orders from the district officer in charge of religious affairs in the community.

The Jews of Dushambe, who have no other candidate capable of filling the post of spiritual leader, have appealed to the district authorities of the republic, and have carried their grievance to Moscow. Authorities in Moscow have replied that the issue is one that comes under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Tadjikistan, while the latter claim they are acting under instructions from Moscow. Meanwhile, the rabbinical post and the Ashkenazi chairmanship are vacant.

Dushambe has a Jewish population of about 15,000, out of a total population of 220,000. The Ashkenazi Jews in Dushambe are mostly Jews from Poland who escaped into Russia during the early days of the Nazi occupation of Poland.

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