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Rabbi Bernstein Points out Gap Between Nazis, Soviets

September 11, 1933
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A sharp contrast between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was portrayed by Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, of Temple Brith Kodesh, who recently returned here after spending the summer observing conditions in the two countries. Rabbi Bernstein spoke at a welcome dinner tendered him by the officers and trustees of his congregation.

“The Jew has found a new freedom in Russia,” declared Rabbi Bernstein, “a freedom that he had never known before. He lives, works and studies where he pleases. There is no position in the nation that is not open to him.

“Anti-Semitism is a crime, and those who give expression to it are punished. When I was in Stalingrad, a man who called the Jewish manager of a restaurant, “Zhid”, was in jail. There are many other examples of this kind that I could give.

“It is true on the other hand that the synagogues are empty, or have been converted into clubs or museums. Only a handful of old people attend. Hebrew is literally a dead language. Zionism is no longer an issue. It is regarded as religious in origin and a tool of British imperialism. The Communists have succeeded; soon organized Jewish religion will be no more.”

Rabbi Bernstein then described his impressions of Germany. “I wish to confirm out of my own experience,” he said, “the judgment of others that the situation of the Jew in Germany is hopeless. The Hitler government is relentless in its determination to crush the Jew. And Hitlerism is here to stay.”

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