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August 27, 1965 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-08-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Novel 'The COmmi ssar' by Vinokur Exposes Violent USSR Anti-Semitism

"The Commissar," by Grigory
Vinokur, published by Twayne, (31
Union Sq., NY 3), is such a de-
vastating expose of conditions af-
fecting Jews in Russia that it rates
among the most powerful novels
of our time.
The author was himself a Com-
munist in the USSR. He writes
from personal experience and his
novel sounds almost like an auto-
biographical account of sufferings
endured before and during the last
war under Communist rule.
'' J A Red Army officer during
World War II, Vinokur managed to
get out of Russia, finally to tell
the tale of horror in his novel
which first appeared in Yiddish in
Argentina.
The hero of the story, Mikhail
Kruger, the Jewish Communist
who is loyal to the Russian re-
gime, begins to feel the virus of
anti-Semitism at every step.
But he is the loyal Communist
and out of a genuine desire to ad-
vance Russian aims Mikhail is
given permission to go to Biro-
Bidjan to study conditions there.
He learns of the intrigues there,
there are expurgations and the
Jewish element is small and the
Jews' settlement farcical. There
are hidden motives to turn the
area into a concentration camp,

‘7

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and these aims become evident to
Kruger.
Stalin's anti-Semitism L
re-
vealed in the story. There are
devious schemes in the regime,
betrayals, "confessions," and the
fear of consequences resulting
from free expression of opinion
spreads rapidly.
Mikhail's closest friend, Boris
Garber, frequently helps him when
he needs to see important people,
when he seeks advancement and
friendship. Boris is the intimate
friend of Stalin, but he, too, falls
victim to the dictator.
In the course of their discus-
sions of existing Russian condi-
tions, Mikhail evidences the Jew-
ish rebellious spirit of challeng-
ing untruths and there is an
imaginary conversation with Stal-
in who says abous Boris: "You-
call him a Jew? Perhaps, but
in name only. He is like a stone
in a barren desert, neither
nourished by centuries of Jewish
tradition, nor blooming with cen-
turies of Jewish wisdom and
knowledge, nor steeped in Jew-
ish exultation and despair. His
impoverished, ignorant f at he r
never gave him a Jewish educa-
tion and the street made him
what he is. His passport carries
the word "Yevrey," because he
was born a Jew. He is a Jew
only on his papers."
An explanator note by the novel-
ist throws much light on the story
he tells and the experiences re-
corded. Vinokur declares, after
pointing out that the book was
translated by himself and his wife.
Tollie Young:
"This novel is a fictional treat-
ment of events that actually oc-
curred. I played an active role
in the performance of duties im-
posed by the Soviet government
and the Communist Party. As a
Soviet wrtier, I faithfully fol-
lowed Stalin's line in my books,
short stories and articles pub-
lished in Moscow, Minsk, and
Birobijan. In the '30s I was one
of the young Communists who
was sent to establish collective
.farms and, in World War H, I
served as an officer of the Red
Army.
"The idea for this novel came
to me while I was in the trenches
of the Central Front between
Voronezh and Stalingrad. Later,
recuperating from a war wound,
I spent many days and nights
weaving the plot. In 1945 when
I settled in Moscow after my re-
lease from the Red Army, I con-
tinued writing the novel, but I
still realized that this work could
never be published in the Soviet
Union under Stalin, because
those who criticized as friends
were treated as enemies.

LEWISTON LODGE

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CANTOR
MAURICE GANCHOFF

the "Sage of Cantorial Liturgy,"

will conduct the
High Holy Day Services at

GROSSINGER'S

He will be assisted by Samuel
Sterner and a choir of 18
beautiful voices.
As in past years, Meyer Pesin, editor of the

Jersey City (N. JO Jewhih Standard, will deliver
the sermons.

El Al Buys Boeing Jet
With $5-Million Loan

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A new
Boeing 707/320-B long-range jet
commercial airliner is being ac-
quired by El Al Israel Airlines,
Ltd., with assistance of a new loan
of $5,032,000 from the Export-
Import Bank of Washington. The
plane will be the first of four such
ultra-modern craft Israel plans to
buy during the next five years.
The new jet will serve the Tel
Aviv-New York and Tel Aviv-
Nairobi routes.
The total price of the plane is
$7,400,000, including spare parts.
Repayment is guaranteed by the
Israel government, the airline's
major shareholder.
First financing of El Al by the
Export-Import Bank was a loan
in 1960 for the purchase of two
Boeing 707 jets. A second loan was
issued in 1961 for a third 707.
These two credits totaled $12,600,-
000. In 1962, the bank guaranteed
a commercial loan to El Al to the
extent of $12,300,000 for two Boe-
ing 720 planes.

Flags Warn Lebanese
Blasting crews of the Jewish Na-
tional Fund, working on a new road
between two outpost settlements on
the Israel-Lebanon border, have
been hoisting red flags to warn the
Lebanese farmers of intended ex-
plosions.

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Hotel Tel: 914-647-6000

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, August 27, 1965-11



I

-

FIVE DAY SPECIAL, MONDAY THRU FRIDAY, $60.00

For reservations and further information call Detroit, EL
.
or Lewiston Lodge 517 ST 62452.

Rene Dreyfus the famous French
racing driver of the 1930s is cele-
brating his 25th year in this coun-
try. It was in 1940 that the French
government sent Corporal Dreyfus
and a partner to compete in the
Indianapolis 500. Dreyfus never re-
turned to France, he joined the
United States Army, and today
is one of New York's leading res-
taurateurs.

judging by the Vinokur story ; there
is little hope for security in Rus-
sia. Vonokur has indeed performed
an important service by letting the
facts be known. It is a story based
on personal experiences, irrefut-
able, convincing, replete with re-
gret that avoidable anti-Semitism
should have been so evidently ef-
fective in Russia.

Miami

the "complete" vacation lodge

Three

"Like so many others, I loved
Russia dearly. I was a loyal
citizen and a devoted Commu-
nist, but for as long as I could
remember, I was torn between
my loyalty and belief in com-
munism and my loyalty and be-
lief in Judaism . .. "
He managed to escape from Rus-
sia, to travel through Europe, un-
til he was fortunate to come to
the United States in 1953. He suc-
ceeded in hiding his document un-
til he reached safety. He explains
further:
"I did not dare to bring the
novel to light for fear of Stalin's
reprisal against people who
helped one and are still living
there, and who could be easily
recognized despite the fiction-
alized treatment. Only after the
death of Stalin and the subse-
quent active de-Stalinization pro-
gram in the Soviet Union started,
only then did I decide that the
time had come for publishing it."
"The Commissar" is a deeply
moving story, a revealing docu-
ment of fears, hatreds, a continu-
ing antagonism to Jews for whom.

Rene Dreyfus Anniversary

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