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Situation of Jews in Russia is Jewry’s Major Problem, Goldmann Says

January 25, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union “has become worse in the last few years”; it remains the world Jewish community’s “number one” problem today. Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, declared here last night.

Although anti-Semitism as such does not exist in Russia, Dr. Goldmann stated, “the Jews there are deprived of the facilities which all other religions and national minorities possess.” The situation of the Jews in the USSR, he continued, “is worse than in any other Communist country where Jewish communities have their own religion and, partly, even some cultural life.”

Dr. Goldmann discussed the position of Jews in Russia, as well as the recent resurgence of anti-Semitic manifestations in West Germany, when he addressed the opening meeting here of the national conference of the British section of the World Jewish Congress. The conference is being attended by 230 delegates from all parts of Britain, and by 36 members of the national executive.

Should the day come when the Jews in the Soviet Union were to possess at least some of the advantages which they have today in other Communist countries, such as Hungary and Rumania, “this would be a great step forward and a great improvement,” Dr. Goldmann stated.

The position of the Jews in the USSR has worsened in the last few years, the WJC leader asserted, “although public opinion and many non-Jewish leaders have taken an active part in trying to alleviate the heavy fate which has befallen this great Jewish community of 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 people.” The Soviet authorities, charged Dr. Goldmann, “are trying to put through a policy of forced assimilationism behind the Iron Curtain.”

As for the recent outbreaks of anti-Semitic manifestations in Germany and else-where, Dr. Goldmann cautioned against alarm, at the same time, however, declaring that there does exist some “grave danger.” The danger, he emphasized, lies “in the fact that many young Germans have grown up without having been taught the truth about Nazism and, especially, the Nazi crimes against the Jews.”

If nothing is done to correct this situation, Dr. Goldmann held, “a generation of Germans may grow up in a few years which will revert to the old and classical German spirit of aggressive nationalism, racial superiority, intolerance and brutality.”

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