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Soviet Anti-semitic Book Denounced by Veteran Advocate of the USSR

No more telling indictment of Soviet anti-Semitism can be found than that written by a life-long advocate of Communism, Joshua Gershman, the veteran leftwing journalist who edited the now defunct publication, The Vochenblatt, in Toronto for many years. His current articles appear in the English-language Vancouver publication, Canadian Jewish Outlook.

His latest article, titled “Hitting Rock Bottom, “refers to a new Soviet novel, “At the Final Borderline,” written by Valentin Pikul. Gershman, who termed the book “anti-Semitic filth.” was shocked to find a segment of the book reprinted in the Canadian Russian-language pro-Soviet periodical, “Vestik.”

The thrust of Pikul’s story is that it was the Jews of Czarist Russia, whom he describes as “blackmailers, thieves, perjurers, liars, spies, provocateurs, pimps and quack doctors” and as “rootless cosmopolitans,” conspired with the priest Rasputin to corrupt all government circles and to intensify the oppression against the workers and peasants. In fact, Rasputin is not presented as being himself evil but as a “poor and helpless” instrument of the Jews.

BOOK REPEATS ANTI-SEMITIC SLANDER

Gershman reported that according to Pikul, “the Jews of old Russia controlled most of the newspapers, including the anti-Semitic ones; controlled the high establishments such as the banks, brothels, nightclubs and so on. In step with other Soviet anti-Semitic writers, Pikul repeats the libel of ‘Zhidomasonski-Tsenter’. This is the fabrication of the Jewish Masonic Center of Europe with the Rothschilds at the head.”

Continuing, Gershman pointed out: “According to Pikul, the vast majority of Jews lived almost sumptuously. Many of them were exceedingly wealthy. He permits himself to write in this fashion in the face of the well-established fact that almost 95 percent of the Jews in Czarist Russia lived in conditions of intolerable poverty.”

Back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and even well after the revelations at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party about the “cult of Stalin,” any criticism of writing that originated in the Soviet Union would be denounced by Gershman as “red-baiting” or as “war mongering attacks on the workers’ fatherland.”

It is a mark of how low the Soviets have fallen that Gershman, who still thinks of himself as a Communist and as pro-Soviet, can in the winter of his life–he is 78–write with such brutal frankness about its literature.

He acknowledges with some saddness that the truly humanistic forces in the USSR like the poet Yevtushenko and others are “eclipsed,” but concludes his article on a hopeful note that “we must not permit ourselves to be thrown into a state of confusion… we must conduct a ceaseless struggle for the Leninist goals launched… by the October (1917) revolution.”

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