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Future of Jews in Russia Seen Dependent on Western Pressure on Moscow

February 24, 1958
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"No basic changes in the condition of Soviet Jewry are foreseen, unless the Soviet Union, in its campaign for co-existence and sympathy in the West, were forced by Western pressure to permit a revival of Jewish religious and cultural life and free emigration to Israel, " it was reported here today at a meeting of the executive committee of the American Jewish Congress.

The report, submitted by Dr. Nehemia Robinson, director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the World Jewish Congress, said that the World War II years led to a certain revival of Jewish self-consciousness but also of anti-Semitism.

"In the first postwar years, remnants of Jewishness were tolerated, but in 1948, due in part to growing pro-Israel sentiments among Soviet Jews, the regime embarked upon the total destruction of everything Jewish, and, in the very last years, extensive prosecution, deportations, and executions of the remaining Jewish literary and other figures, " the report stated. "The culmination was the Moscow doctors plot. "

"The period since the death of Stalin in 1953, " Dr. Robinson continued, "is characterized by a rehabilitation, without fanfare, of the Jewish survivors of the purges, but continued prohibition of practically every aspect of Jewish cultural life. In the religious field, a few small improvements were permitted. The apparent sympathy for Israel, which came to the fore during the 1957 Youth Festival, led again to repressions, although on a much smaller scale and with clear indications that Israel is off limits for Soviet Jewry. "

The AJC executive committee, at its session today adopted a resolution voicing "grave concern" that nearly one-quarter of the two-year life-span of the Federal Commission on Civil Rights has been "irretrievably lost" by "the lack of an adequate sense of urgency about civil rights on the part of the Administration."

The resolution called upon President Eisenhower to use the full influence of his office "to obtain the quickest possible action on all steps needed to enable the Commission to make maximum use of what time remains of its limited term of office."

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