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Leaders of Minsk Kehillah Arrested by G.p.u.; Charged with Counter-revolution

February 17, 1930
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Almost every leader of the Minsk Jewish community, including Rabbi Pevsner, Rabbi Osher Kershtein and Rabbi Gluskin, has been arrested charged with maintaining illegal connections with organizations abroad. The G. P. U., Russian secret police, claims that it discovered in the homes of the arrested rabbis letters addressed to Jewish organizations abroad that compromise the Soviet government, and asking that the Jews of Russia be saved from annihilation.

The secret police also searched the synagogues and says it discovered there a hektograph with documents that show that the community “is a counterrevolutionary organization supplying information to anti-Soviet bodies abroad.” Rabbi Pevsner was directly accused of receiving and executing instructions from Riga from Rabbi Joseph Schneurson, the Lubawitsch#r Rabbi, who is now in the United States. The G. P. U. asserts th### found at Rabbi Pevsner’s home a letter in Rabbi Schneurson’s handwriting containing instructions as to how to organize illegal rabbinical seminaries and Hebrew schools, and how to strengthen Jewish religious life.

Among the others arrested are three itinerant preachers, Benjamin Shakovitsky, Moishe Chaim Levin and David Rabinowitch, the ex-merchants Shimen Iviansky, Shimen Kabakov and David Shacker, the ex-bankers Braude and David Salman, Moishe Gabrielov, Jacob Maisis and Moishe Reznik. The last two are charged with heading the illegal seminary ring.

The secret police also claim to have established that the New York Rabbi Glazer, who visited Minsk in August, 1829, held an illegal conference with the Minsk rabbis at which Iviansky, Braude, Kershtein, Shakovitsky, Gluskin and Gabrielov were present. When Rabbi Glazer arrived in Paris on his way to the United States, he revealed to the press that he had reliable information on religoius persecution in Russia which the G. P. U. claims was given him at the illegal Minsk conference.

Following the raid in Minsk, the G. P. U. raided synagogues in the entire Mozir region and claims to have discovered there illegal literature sent by Polish rabbis. It is interesting that among those arrested in Minsk are the rabbis who last year signed the famous open letter containing 31 signatures of White Russian rabbis in which it was declared that religion is not persecuted and that they therefore pledge their loyalty to the Soviet government.

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