Novosti Recounts Reunion of Jewish Survivors of 1943 Sobibor Death Camp Revolt

The Soviet Embassy today released a lengthy account by the official Novosti News Agency of a reunion of Jewish survivors of the 1943 revolt at the Sobibor death camp in Poland which, Novosti said, was held Oct. 14 at Rostov-on-Don, the home of Alexander Pechersky who was the leader of the uprising. According to the Novosti correspondent, Pyotr Yashchenko, only five Jewish survivors were located in the Soviet Union. But the account mentioned that “14 of the survivors were now living in Israel and on behalf of his friends attending the reunion, Mr. Pechersky sent them a warm letter.” It was the first mention in recent memory by an official Soviet news agency that did not refer to Israel negatively and that went out of its way to point out that Jews and residents of Israel were rebels against Nazi tyranny. Previous Soviet propaganda has always sought to obscure the fact of Jewish resistance.

The Novosti correspondent identified the survivors, apart from Mr. Pechersky, as Semyon Rozenfeld, Aleksei Vaitsen, Naum Plotnitsky, Arkady Vaispapir and Yefem Litvinovsky. He said, “The city public gave a warm greeting to these courageous men. The ceremonial portion of this memorable meeting was held in one of the largest halls of the Municipal Palace of Culture.” The account said further that Mr. Pechersky made a speech recalling Nazi atrocities at Sobibor. He was quoted as saying, “We shall never forget or forgive the Fascists their savage crimes. I appeal to all people of good will to be vigilant. We can not permit such a nightmare to occur again.”

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