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Soviet’s Only Yiddish Magazine Considered ‘positive Phenomenon’

Despite “controls,” negligible literary merits, and depressing politics, the only Yiddish magazine permitted in the Soviet Union is a “positive phenomenon” that “offers proof, however pitifully meager, of the enduring vitality of the Jewish spirit.”

This was the finding of a 64-page analysis of the Yiddish literary monthly “Sovyetish Heymland” made public today by Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith. The analysis was published by the Anti-Defamation League for the B’nai B’rith International Council. It describes “Sovyetish Heymland” as being “ideologically dedicated to the assimilation of the Soviet Jews, yet its internal dynamics propel it in the opposite direction.”

The report asserts that “despite the controls exerted by the editor, despite the fears that any deviation must surely arouse in every Yiddish writer in the Soviet Union, despite the ideological exhortations and indirect threats, one finds in the pages of ‘Sovyetish Heymland’ occasional startling passages suffused with longing for a more positive form of Jewish self-identification.”