Barshay Affair Focused Public’s Attention to Situation (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The Barshay affair focused popular attention on the present stage of anti-Semitism in Soviet Russia, resulting in the disclosure of anti-Semitic outbursts in White Russia, at the University of Voronezh, and the persecutions of Jewish workers in the mining districts, states the correspondent of the “Manchester Guardian” in a despatch from Moscow published in that paper.
The correspondent writes that flashes of anti-Semitism due to prejudice stimulated during the Czarist regime are not surprising. However, these cannot be compared with the present excesses which do not reach beyond the maltreatment of individuals or small groups. The persistence of racial antagonism causes concern to the Communist leaders, the correspondent declares, because anti-Semitism is growing not only among the former wealthy classes, but even the young Communists, due to the intense class consciousness cultivated in them, show anti-Semitic hatred because they regard the Jews as the trading class.
A further factor contributing to the increase of anti-Semitism is that new Communists join the party without changing their old ideas. While the growth of the Communist party indicates a strengthening support among the masses, it temporarily carries with it an infiltration of popular prejudice.
The correspondent cites the case of the Chief Military Guard at the Briansk mines who, although a member of the Communist party, declared: “I hate the Jews and think it wrong of the party not to permit pogroms.”
The Soviet Government endeavors to curb anti-Semitism, the correspondent points out, by eliminating the legal basis for racial discrimination and imposing special punishment for those found guilty of anti-Semitic acts.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.