President Eisenhower told a press conference today that he could not tell if the death or incapacitation of Premier Stalin would alter the “anti-Semitic situation” in the Soviet Union.
The President said this in response to a question which asked if he expected a worsening or improvement in the “anti-Semitic situation” in Russia in view of “what seems to be the inevitable change in Russian leadership.” Mr. Eisenhower replied that, of course, he could not tell what would happen but that he found Soviet action against the Jewish people to be deplorable and heartbreaking.
He pointed out that, in a way, it was depressing for one like him who had so much experience with the Nazi horror camps of World War II. He said that Jews in Europe were reduced to almost nothing in the German camps. Of the current situation, he said he found it rather depressing, adding, as an afterthought, that it was even worse than depressing–it was heartbreaking.
The President admitted that he was frankly puzzled as to whether his saying anything about Soviet anti-Semitism would help the situation or make it worse. Despite this, he indicated that the United States and the free world deplored Soviet anti-Semitism and hoped for some way to end it, although he made no specific recommendations.
The question of what effect Premier Stalin’s condition might have on Soviet policy was discussed by President Eisenhower this morning at a meeting at the White House with Jess Moss, National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans. This meeting took place immediately before the press conference at which Mr. Eisenhower spoke out on the subject. Mr. Moss told reporters after talking with Mr. Eisenhower that he was not at liberty to divulge what the President told him.
(In Moscow, Chief Rabbi Jacob Schleifer today proclaimed a day of fast and prayers for Stalin. Spiritual heads of other faiths have issued similar proclamations.)
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.