. . De-
at Hebrew U...
XXXVI, No. 2
E JEWISH NEWS
A Weekly Review
on World Maps
of Jewish Events
Michigan's Only English-Jewish Newspaper—Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle
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Jewish Meetin with Khrushchev
Ruled Out; Conditions Revealed
for Security Under Soviet Rule
By MILTON FRIEDMAN
Vital Reports from Moscow
Jews'Marked'Citizens in USSR
(Copyright, 1959, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)
(Editor's Note: This is the first of a series of articles from the Soviet Union by
David Miller, special correspondent of the Jewish News Telegraphic Agency, who is now
touring the two countries behind the Iron Curtain. Miller, who is traveling on a
Pulitzer Scholarship from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has made
a thorough study of Jewish life in the Soviet Union. His first article describes how the
Soviet Government has separated the Jew from other citizens in the Soviet Republics by
marking their identity cards with the word "Jew.")
MOSCOW — Flung across 7,000 miles of the cities, farms, mountains, lakes and
deserts of the Soviet Union, the second largest Jewish community in the world today lives
a restless, uncertain existence.
The millions of Jews in the largest nation on earth live under circumstances that
almost defy description and certainly would not be duplicated outside the tight ring of the
USSR and its satellites.
Even the exact number of Jews in the Soviet Union is unknown. Estimates range
from 2,500,000 to nearly 4,000,000, although every Jew in the Soviet Union carries an identity
card neatly marked "Jew."
Well-informed Soviet sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the new .
census of the Soviet Union's more than 200,000,000 citizens would show a Jewish popula-
tion of "well over 3,000,000 but not quite five."
The figures, subject to further revisions, were compiled by the Central Statistical
bureau and recorded the distribution of all Soviet residents by age, sex, nationality and
occupation. Official totals, the first since 1939, are expected to be announced shortly.
Western sources usually estimate the Jewish population at about 3,000,000, with the
bulk in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev and in the Ukraine and Byelorussia.
If a figure near 4,000,000 is correct, the increase in Jews would represent the
largest- population growth of any of the 170 distinct national groups that make up the
15 Republics of the USSR.
It would also increase sharply the contrast between the numerical importance of
Jews and the steadily decreasing role they play in national and community life.
The census, completed several weeks ago, is expected to show 'vast increases of Jews.
According to estimates, Moscow will show a Jewish population of 400,000 (in a
city total of 7,000,000); Leningrad, 300,000 (city total 3,200,000); Kiev, 200,000 (city total
1,000,000); Odessa, 200,000 (city total 625,000), and in Minsk, 130,000 (city total 301,000).
Other large concentrations are in Riga, Kharkov, • Vilna, Lvov, Kishinev, Bakum Tash-
kent, Chernovitz, Tbilisi, Dniepropetrovsk and Birobidjhan.
The remaining Jews are settled in all parts of the Soviet Union, including Siberia
and the new industrial developments, but virtually none live on collective farms. •
How do Soviet Jews live today? What has happened to their religious life? How
much anti-Semitism remains? What are their hopes? Their fears? How do they see their role
in the growing Soviet state? In relationship with Israel? With Western Europe and the
This reporter spent a month touring western and southern areas of the USSR, held
dozens of discussions with Jews in all walks of life, and the talks were frank and rewarding.
But before an American Jew can hope to understand the present-day life of Soviet
Jews, he must understand the history Of Jewry in the Soviet Union, the terror of the Stalin
period and the substantial changes since 1953.
Perhaps the first impression in talking with Soviet Jews is also one of the most
significant. All Soviet citizens over the age of 16 carry identity cards. They are similar to
those required in most of the countries of western Europe—except for the additional entry
An American Jew thinks of his nationality as American, his religion as Jewish. In
the Soviet Union, where the state stands for atheism, Jews are considered a separate national
group and no recognition is given to religion.
Soviets are classed according to the nationality of their parents. A child born to Jewish
parents in the Ukraine is registered as a Jew, not as a Ukrainian. Thus Jews, regardless of
their place of birth, are always classed as someone outside the local community.
A Soviet Jew is always a Jew, although he may attend Ukrainian schools, speak
Ukrainian as his first language (Russian is always taught as a second language outside
the Russian Federated Republic) and dress and look like his neighbors.
To his fellow citizens, a Ukrainian Jew is a Jew, not a "real" Ukrainian like himself.
This situation is true only for Jews. Soviet citizens who profess to be Russian Orthodox,
Greek Orthodox, Moslem, Buddhist or any other faith are not classified separately. For
them, it is the place of birth that counts.
The designation of Jew also means that, in the Soviet concept of religion and nationality,
the Jew is a member of a specific national group. This system sets the pattern for his place in
Soviet life. Extensive programs are given high priority for teaching all Soviets at least two
languages—their own and Russian. But for Jews this has meant the partial preservation of Yid-
dish in only one area—the autonomous province of Birobidjhan in the Far East. As a home cul-
tural fountainhead for Jews, the plan has failed completely. No more than 80,000 Jews (half
the total population) have ever lived in the region, twice the area of New Jersey. .
The marshes and woodlands of Birobidjan, on the northern frontier of Manchuria,
mean nothing to Soviet Jews. Yet outside the region no Yiddish or Hebrew is taught or
Jewish community life maintained.
The Soviets, through this policy of control, have sought to separate the Jew from
his fellow citizens. In many ways they have met with considerable success.
Chief of the JTA Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON, (JTA) — Hopes for a meeting of
Jewish groups with Sovie:: Premier Nikita Khrushchev
dimmed when Soviet sources here intimated that the
Soviet government had decided to reject the premise
of the Jewish groups that there is a Jewish problem in
the Soviet Union.
Several American Jewish organizations are seek-
ing a meeting with the Soviet Premier during his stay
in the United States. The same Soviet sources pointed
out that the Soviet leader had a crowded schedule await-
ing him in this country. It was stressed that many
organizations and interests are seeking meetings with
him on topics that the Soviets consider more acceptable.
Attention was called to a Moscow radio broadcast beamed
in English to North America. It said that any talk of discrimina-
tion against Jews in the Soviet Union is nothing but falsehood.
"Jews are equal members of our society and they are very
useful talented members," the broadcast stated.
The broadcast, prompted by a question Moscow said had
been raised in New York, reported that some elements in
New York are anxious for a discussion with Premier Krushchev
of "recent charges in the American press that Jews, notably
writers and people of culture, have been and are being purged
in the U.S.S.R." To this the Moscow radio replied that Moscow,
Odessa, Lvov and many other Soviet cities have synagogues
and that state stores stock Jewish foods.
Among prominent Soviet Jews the broadcast named Mik-
hail Botvinnik, world chess champion, and Yuri Faier, con-
ductor of the Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra.
Jewish 'Behavior' Needed for Security
Direct JTA Teletype Wire to The Jewish News
LONDON—The Jew in the Soviet Union today is "quite
safe provided he behaves as a good communist, suppresses his
emotions about Israel and is prepared to integrate completely
with Soviet society," the Times of London said Tuesday in a
long review of the Jewish position within the Soviet Union.
Continued on Page 3
Dr. F. Peyton Rous
the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, who
will head a delegation of nine scientists from the United
States to the International Cancer Symposium at the
Weizmann Institute, is seen in the picture with Dr.
Mathilde Krim. Dr. Krim is a senior scientist at the
Department of Experimental Biology at the Weizmann
Institute of Science, and in private life the wife of