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500 Jewish Communists from Palestine Reported Annihilated in Russia

February 10, 1958
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Of the over 500 Jewish Communists who left Palestine for the Soviet Union in the 1920’s virtually none but widows and orphans remain, Joseph Berger-Barzilai, a survivor of Soviet labor camps, declared here today in an interview in the newspaper Haaretz. The remainder were killed or died in Soviet camps, he declared.

Mr. Berger-Barzilai, a founder of the Palestine Communist Party and once a leading member of the Comintern, is one of the few survivors of that emigration. After 21 years in Soviet prisons he recently returned to Israel.

When he arrived in Moscow, Mr. Berger-Barzilia reported, he was named to head the Middle East Bureau of the Comintern. Later, he was jailed and remained imprisoned until after Stalin’s death when Polish Jewish Communists intervened in his behalf and he was freed.

According to Mr. Berger-Barzilai, Moscow’s intention in inviting the leaders of the Palestine Communist Party to settle in Russia was to “withdraw from the Palestine Communist Party all Jewish leadership and turn it into an Arab party. Scores of Arab Communists were brought to Moscow for schooling and came through the years of purges unscathed and all returned home,” even while Jewish Communists were being exterminated, he charged.

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