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Prague Trial Throws Jews in Communist Countries into Mortal Fear

November 24, 1952
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Jews in countries behind the “Iron Curtain” are reported to be in mortal fear of increased anti-Jewish propaganda as a result of the trial of 14 former Communist leader in Prague, which is looked upon by the non-Jewish population in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania and other Soviet-dominated countries as official Soviet sanction of an outspoken anti-Jewish policy.

Reports reaching here from Soviet satellite countries all indicate that the Jewish populations in those countries are stunned by the sudden official outburst of anti-Semitism at the Prague trial where 12 of the 14 defendants are Jews. The general opinion expressed in these reports is that anti-Semitic elements in all Communist countries have received the green light to indulge in open anti-Jewish activities under the mask of defending Communism.

Newspapers received here from Czechoslovakia and other Soviet-dominated countries feature the news of the trial in a manner which fosters anti-Semitic feelings among the non-Jewish population. Radio stations in the Soviet satellite countries similarly inject strong anti-Jewish note in their broadcast reports of the Prague trial.


The general tendency in the press an on the radio in Soviet-dominated countries is to discredit the Jews in the eyes of the local population by linking them with “Zionist conspirators” and “American agents.” Testimony at the trial to this effect by Rudolf Slansky, Bendrich Geminder, Arthur London, Andre Simon and other defendants who “confessed” alleged ties with Israelis and American Jews, are quoted at great length.

Today, the Prague radio played up testimony by Andre Simon, former editor of the Czech Communist party newspaper “Rude Pravo,” who was indicted as a Zionist and a spy. The broadcast quoted him as testifying yesterday that he collaborated with an American Jewish radio correspondent who told him that “it was the duty of every Jew to support the policy of the United States, even if he did not agree with it.”

Czechoslovak newspapers reaching here today from Prague also drag in the Joint Distribution Committee by stating that the American Jewish relief organization “has developed espionage and sabotage activities.” Other Jewish organizations are charged with allegedly training saboteurs and spies against the Soviet regime.

The Prague radio, reporting in detail the testimony this weekend of Mr. Slansky, former Secretary General of the Czech Communist Party, who “confessed” that he was a “Jewish capitalist,” an agent of “international Jewish conspiracy” and that he was protecting “Zionist conspirators,” quotes him as stating in court:

“I deliberately shielded the Zionist conspirators by abusing the campaign against so-called anti-Semitism, by proposing that a campaign be waged against anti-Semitism, by magnifying the danger of anti-Semitism and by proposing various measures against anti-Semitism, such as the writing of articles, the publication of pamphlets, the holding of lectures and so forth.

“I criminally prevented the waging of a campaign against Zionism and the revelation of the hostile character of Zionist ideology and the unmasking of the hostile activity of Zionists and Zionist organizations. I deliberately shielded Zionism by publicly speaking out against the people who pointed to the hostile activities of Zionists and by describing these people as anti-Semites — just as did my collaborators — so that these people were in the end prosecuted and persecuted.”


Among those cited in the indictment at the Prague trial were Israel Premier David Ben Gurion, Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, and Ehud Avriel, former Israel Minister to Czechoslovakia. Mr. Avriel, who is now director general of the Premier’s Office in Israel, is described as “an American spy covered by the immunity of Israel diplomatic passports.”

The allegations linking the State of Israel, the Zionist movement and Jewish leaders with “American imperialism” are based on the alleged confessions of two Israel nationals who have been under arrest in Czechoslovakia for many months. One of them is Mordecai Oren, a leader of the leftwing Mapam Party in Israel. The other is Shimson Orenstein, a former employee in the Israel legation in Prague.

The indictment quotes “testimony” by Orenstein on a “conspiratorial meeting,” in 1947 attended by President Truman, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Henry Morgenthau, former Secretary of the Treasury, and Mr. Ben Gurion and Mr. Sharett, at which agreement was reached on a new “Morgenthau Plan.”

Under this plan, according to the indictment, the terms of American aid to Israel were fixed. One of the conditions was that the Zionist organization should be exploited “for espionage activities and revolutionary acts in popular democracies to help the American imperialistic aim — world domination.”


In accordance with this plan, the indictment asserts, Mr. Avriel played the chief role in Prague. On his arrival in Prague, it asserts, he made contact with two of the defendants, Mr. Slansky Communist Party chief, and Bendrich Geminder, Slansky’s deputy, “and tried to cooperate with them to execute this criminal and mad plan — that of Truman and Ben Gurion who is the servant of American imperialism.”

The Oren “confession” is cited to prove links between Slansky and Yugoslav Titoists. It states that Mr. Oren made contact with Slansky for the Titoists through Avriel. Oren, who is described in the indictment as “a distinguished Zionist swindler,” also “confessed” to activities carried out jointly with two other defendants, Rudolph Margolius, former official in the Foreign Trade Ministry, and Dr. Evzen Loebl, former Deputy Foreign Trade Minister, to help Israel and damage the Czechoslovak economy it is expected here that Mr. Oren will appear in court as a witness.

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