Czech Communist Paper Publishes Flood of Letters Assailing Anti-semitism

A series of anonymous anti-Semitic attacks in letters to Dr. Eduard Goldstuecker, a prominent Czech writer and vice-rector of Prague’s Charles University, has touched off a flood of letters denouncing anti-Semitism and expressing solidarity and sympathy with its victims, it was reported here from Prague today. Most of the letters, which come from scientists, students, teachers, soldiers, trade unionists and members as well as non-members of the Czech Communist Party, have been received by the party newspaper Rude Pravo. That newspaper last month published a copy of one of the anonymous anti-Semitic letters and an article by Dr. Goldstuecker pointing to the menace of anti-Semitism. On July 9, the scientific council of Charles University issued a declaration in defense of Dr. Goldstuecker which assailed anti-Semitism as “barbarian” and in conflict with the civilized traditions of the Czech state.

Observers in Prague believe that the vehement reaction against the anti-Semitic attacks was more than just a manifestation of sympathy with a highly respected intellectual. Dr. Goldstuecker is chairman of the Czech Writers Union. It was seen also as an attempt by Czechoslovakia to assert its independence from official Soviet policy and a determination to “form a progressive front” that will end intolerance.

Rude Pravo has published many of the letters supporting Dr. Goldstuecker. It has also published samples of the anti-Semitic mail. Some of the latter are signed “workers from the North” or “honest Czechoslovak workers.” The paper assailed “this anonymous terror that dares to speak on behalf of the working class.” At the time of Dr. Goldstuecker’s article in Rude Pravo, it was pointed out in some circles that the liberalization movement in Czechoslovakia had so far benefited the intellectual and educated classes more than the mass of Czechs.

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