NEW YORK (Aug. 13)
The 21st anniversary of the massacre of 24 Jewish poets and writers in the infamous Lubianka Prison in Moscow was marked today with the reading of their poems in Yiddish and English by Columbia University students on the steps of the New York Public Library.
Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, which sponsored the readings, said that the deaths of the Jewish writers, poets and public figures was the climax of a four-year campaign by Soviet authorities to eradicate Jewish culture in the USSR. Between 1948 and 1952, 217 Jewish writers, 108 actors, 87 painters and sculptors and 19 musicians were arrested, most of them later dying in Soviet labor camps.
Lowell said the tragedy made Soviet Jews more determined than ever to dedicate themselves to their history and culture. He urged American Jews on the anniversary of the massacre to “rededicate our efforts to help free Soviet Jews, so that they can fulfill themselves as Jews whenever they desire.”
Meanwhile, the Workmen’s Circle urged the present leadership of the Soviet Union to “rehabilitate the names and reputations of those murdered on the basis of outrageously false charges.” The Workmen’s Circle said the 24 were murdered “for no other reason than that they were Jewish and vital to Russian Jewish life.” The Jewish labor fraternal order said that the 21st anniversary without rehabilitation is “just another brick in the wall of repression the Soviets have built against its Jewish cultural leaders.”
The Jewish Labor Committee, in commemorating the tragic event, urged the Soviet government “to restore to the Jews of the USSR their fundamental human right…to create cultural and educational institutions.” Jacob T. Zukerman, the committee’s president, said a recent appeal to Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny signed by 100 international writers urging cultural freedom has not been answered. The committee urged that “it is time that these basic human rights, self-expression in one’s culture and free emigration, be granted.”