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Revival of Jewish Life Reported in Soviet Republic of Estonia

A revival of Jewish life is taking place in the Soviet republic of Estonia, according to a Dutch specialist in Eastern European affairs.

Writing Saturday in the daily Het Parool, the specialist, Dick Verkijk, reported that a Jewish cultural society, purportedly the first in the Soviet Union, was established in Estonia and officially registered on March 20. It is said to have 250 members to date.

The society’s first public event was a gala concert of Jewish music performed in the Russian Theater in Tallinn, the Baltic republic’s capital. The 650 seats were sold out within two hours, Verkijk said.

He said he spoke to two members of the Executive of the Jewish society, Samuel Lazekin and Eugenia Loov. They told him Hebrew lessons would start next month.

Verkijk reported that about 5,000 Jews live in Estonia, the same number as in 1939, when it was an independent nation. Most of the Jews who lived there before World War II were deported to their deaths during the Nazi occupation.

After the war, Jews from Moscow, Leningrad and other parts of the Soviet Union settled in Estonia, because the atmosphere was less anti-Semitic, Verkijk reported.

He said similar Jewish cultural societies will soon be established in the neighboring Baltic republics of Latvia and Lithuania, which also are part of the Soviet Union.

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