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Soviet Gov’t. Starts Sudden Tributes to Jewish War Heroes, Most of Them Dead

February 26, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Soviet Government has suddenly begun a campaign of tributes to Jewish war heroes of the Russian revolution and World War II, according to information reaching here. Most of the recipients are now dead and the rest are living in obscure retirement.

Observers here viewed the campaign as a Soviet reaction to growing world wide protests against the repression of Jewish cultural and religious life in the USSR and the blatantly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel propaganda campaign which the Soviet Government has supported and indulged in since last June’s Middle East war. They see, however, no change in the basic Soviet attitude towards Jews.

Nevertheless, the Soviet public is now being made aware of the role of Jews in Russia’s struggle against counter-revolutionary forces after World War I and against the Nazi invaders in World War II. A short documentary film has just been released on the life of Leah Deschevski, a Red Army nurse in the Iron Division during the Russian civil war. Biographical sketches have been published in recent weeks on Jewish officers of the Red Army. Among them are Samuel Medvedovski, a colonel of the late civil war who died in 1924; Lev Belilovski, a here of World War II, and Aaron Kadishevitz, a medical officer who served in the civil war and in World War II. A monument is being built to the late General Jacob Shmuskevitz, a Lithuanian Jew who was a hero of the second World War.

In a different category, the late Yiddish poet, Joseph Kotliar, was honored at a literary evening in Vilna, a city which before the war was a major center of Jewish letters.

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