Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Sees Judaism Threatened in Europe Unless Immediate Aid is Forthcoming


Unless immediate aid is rendered to existing religious institutions in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Poland, Judaism in East Europe is endangered, and with it the Judaism of the world. This opinion was expressed by Dr. Heinrich Sliosberg, noted Russion Jewish leader, now a resident of Paris, who arrived Tuesday on the “Ile de France.”

The grave economic position of the Jew which threatens his existence in Russia and the bars on religious propaganda enforced by the Soviet Government are further complicated by the penury of all religious institutions, Dr. Sliosberg stated. It would be ridiculous, in the opinion of Dr. Sliosberg, to speak of a national Jewis existence if Judaism itself were to disappear. Europe, despite the poverty of its population, is still the center of Jewry. The possibilities of Palestine are still too remote and America is too young to take its place, Dr. Sliosberg asserted.

Under these circumstances it is imperative to render succor to Jewish religious institutions and their leaders abroad. It is his hope while in the United States to form a general committee, for the purpose of establishing a fund and a program for religious relief.

“The position of the Jews in Europe and particularly in Russia is most disheartening. The economic status of the Russian Jew is daily growing worse. This position is aggravated by the growth of anti-Semitism. There is today in Russia a real danger of pogroms,” declared Dr. Sliosberg. “The Russian peasant does not hate the Jew. But he strikes at the Jew as a protest against the Bolshevist regime. Churches are closed, religion is suppressed, and to the simple ignorant peasant, it appears only a non-Christion could order such an act. As a matter of course he blames the Jew. The Soviet Government is powerless to stem the tide of an anti-Semitic wave (Continued on Page 4)

which has its source in this psychology. The first pogrom will bring the end of the Bolshevist regime. The fact that the Bolshevists themselves will drown in Jewish blood does not, however, ameliorate the Jewish situation,” Dr. Sliosberg said.

Conditions for the Jews in Poland, on the other hand, indicate some improvement. While their economic status is not good, he stated, there seems to be a milder attitude on the part of the Pilsudski government to the Jewish minority. If the Jews do not take advantage of this opportunity it will be the fault of their leaders.

The past failure of the Jews in Poland to improve their condition, Dr. Sliosberg ascribed to the leadership. There are three Jewish parties in Poland, the Zionist, the Chassidic and the Socialist, all three of which are in disagreement.

Jewry as a whole fails to view the Jewish situation with clarity, he declared. Instances are the Jewish Agency pact with the non-Zionists and pre-occupation with minority rights. Minority rights are a pure territorial, political question, in the view of Dr. Sliosberg, a question in which the Jews have no interest. By aligning themselves with minorities which have political interests, they are rendering themselves unpopular and reducing their opportunities of securing that equality of rights which should be their only concern in the countries where they reside. The be accomplished without special minority rights. That is the example which the Jews of Europe should follow, he stated.

Recommended from JTA