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Soviet Yiddish Editor Explains Why He Failed to Publish ‘Babi Yar’

Aaron Vergelis, editor of the Soviet Yiddish monthly "Sovietish Heimland", published in Moscow, today attempted to explain here why he failed to publish the famous poem "Babi Yar" by the Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko devoted to the tens of thousands of Jews killed in the outskirts of Kiev under Nazi occupation.

The Yiddish editor said that he did not publish this epic poem — which calls for eradication of anti-Semitism and has been translated in many languages — because Yevtushenko failed to blame the mass-massacre of Jews in the Kiev ravine of Babi Yar squarely on the Nazis.

Here on a visit, Mr. Vergelis held a press conference at which he also said that the Soviet authorities are doing their best "to assure the survival of Yiddish" among the Jews in the Soviet Union. However, he added, the failure of Jewish parents to require their children to be taught in a Yiddish school is to be blamed for the demise of Yiddish. "We seek a way to assure the survival of Yiddish, and our search is not fruitless. We seek to make it possible for all who wish to study Yiddish to do so," he said.