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May 19, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-05-19

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Purely Commentary

Svetlana and the Jewish Factors in Stalinism
There were 400 newspapermen at a press conference at which

Mn. Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef Stalin's daughter who has acquired

Svetlana and the
Jews . . .


By Philip

the money but did not reply to the request until a few days before
the ceremony, as in their opinion there was no need for the
specific remembering of the Jewish victims. The Prime Minister
of Poland did nothing to inform the world that out of Auschwitz's
4,000,000 victims, 3,000,000 were Jews. To top it all, the director
of the international department of the World Jewish Congress,

refuge in this country, answered many questions on a variety of sub-
jects—religion, politics, democracy, Communism.
The representative of the Jewish Day-Journal, Gershon Jacobson,
posed the question: "There is a great deal of talk about the situation Mr. Kaplan of France, requested a visa from the Polish consulate
of Jews in the Soviet Union. Charges are being made that the Jewish in Paris in order to attend the ceremony—and was refused."
religion and Jewish culture are being suppressed. Can you comment
Just as Soviet Russia had tried for many years to veil the
about this?" Her answer was:
facts about Babi Yar in secrecy so also has the Polish government
the impression that the Poles were the victims at Auschwitz,
I not know much about Jewish religion. AU I can see, I always
had many friends among Jewish people in Russia and what I know, that Jews incidentally also suffered; and there has been a tendency
what I can see, I know about restrictions in universities and in the to describe Jews as cringing while Poles were heroes in the battle
institutes when very talented Jewish young people sometimes can, against Nazism!
sometimes are not adapted and instead of them people of other
It is because insult has been added to injury that the tragedies
nationalities are adapted but who are less talented. This is all what of the past emerge gloomier as the years go by.

I know. This is what I can say as a fact because I know it myself.

It is evident that she was beating around the bush, that her answer
is unclear, that she did not relate what she might have. Her father
had become a violent anti-Semite. He hated Trotsky and he carried
over his dislike for him into the Jewish community. He engineered the
infamous Doctors' Trial. He was the tyrant who purged wherever he
could. It served his purpose, as his biographer Isaac Deutscher has
indicated, to support the establishment of Israel, but he did much to
harm Israel thereafter and to undermine the position of Jews in Russia.
Yet Svetlana made a garbled statement to the press.
Does she really know so little about Jews? There is evidence to
the contrary.
In its issue of March 17 the London Jewish Chronicle carried an
item from its correspondent on East European affairs from which
we quote:

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

Yuri Andreevich Zhdanov, a biology professor from Rostov, and the
Accordingly, the study reveals,
son of Andrei Zhdanov, a Soviet leader then considered Stalin's
Jews are frequently "tentative
heir apparent. They had a daughter, Katerina.
and uncertain" about their pat-
Almost immediately after Stalin died in 1953, Svetlana and tern of life, and they appear to
Zhdanov were divorced, and Svetlana married her second Jewish be exploring what the precise
husband, Alexei Kapler, a film director who had been arrested on role of ritual in the family's re-
Stalin's orders and sent to a labor camp, from which he was ligious scheme should be. These
released after Stalin died.
findings detailed in two com-
A third Jew was also said to be involved in Svetlana's life — panion volumes published Wed-
Mikhail Kaganovich, then a major-general in the Red Army, and nesday by Basic Books were
the son of Lazar Kaganovich, a member of the Soviet Government made public by Dr. John Slaw-
for many years. Persistent reports from Eastern Europe said that son, executive vice president of
the two had been married at one time.
the American Jewish Committee.
It is, therefore, clear that what later became Stalin's pathologi-
The two books make up "The
cal hatred of Jews was not shared by his daughter, and that be
Studies," findings based
permitted it to shatter her happiness, even though he appeared
on interviews with hundreds of
to be fond of her.

Mr. David Burg, a Russian writer who now lives in London, tells
me that when he lived in Moscow he knew Svetlana, Stalin's daugh-
ter, whose decision to defect to the West has caused such an
understandable furor.
According to Mr. Burg, there was a story current in Moscow
about Svetlana's first marriage. She had fallen in love with a
Jewish boy, Grigori Moroz, and asked Stalin's permission to marry
him. Stalin was not at all pleased but was reluctantly persuaded to

give his permission.

But before agreeing to the wedding, he invited the boy's father,
the manager of a Moscow factory, to the Kremlin. He told him he
was not happy about the marriage but as "the children" were In
love he would permit it. But one thing would have to be changed.
He could not allow his daughter to marry someone called Moroz.
Could not the boy Russify his name by adding the letters "ov" to it?
So in the end Svetlana married not Moroz but Morozov.

Here are facts to contend with. Svetlana apparently knows more
than she admits to.

Poland and the Auschwitz Tragedy
When special ceremonies were conducted recently at Auschwitz,
to pay tribute to the memory of the millions who perished at the
death camp at the hands of the Nazis, the reciting of the Kaddish
vas barred, the Polish authorities having taken the position that the
dedication of a monument for the four million victims was "of a
largely military and non-Jewish character," as one reporter stated.
and that religious rites could be conducted only after the official
This impelled the chairman of the Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation
League, Dore Schary, to charge that "nowhere was it publicly
recognized that more than three million of the four million victims
of Auschwitz were Jews." Schary linked this with an attempt by
some "to accomplish what Auschwitz—and Treblinka, and Sobibor,
and Maidanek and Dachau—could not: the destruction of the Jewish
spirit through neglect and distortion of the Jewish heritage," par-
ticularly recent Jewish history.
The attitude of the Polish government, as charged by Schary,
is tragic enough. But this is only part of the story. As Israeli feature
syndicate recently revealed the following:

"Dr. Nachum Goldman, president of the World Jewish Congress,
purposely did not attend the dedication ceremony of the monument
at Auschwitz. He not only boycotted the ceremony but he also.
wrote a letter to Warsaw several weeks beforehand, informing the
Polish government of his decision not to participate. And here

is the reason why: the World Jewish Congress donated 520,000—
towards this monument—a larger sum than the USSR gave—and
requested permission of the Polish government to allow Dr. Goldman
to speak at the ceremony in order to remind the world of the
millions of Jews massacred there. The Polish government took


Friday, May 19, 1967


REHOVOT — The 13-dunam
(Ws acre) Shirley and Meyer
Weisgal Recreation Center, con-
sisting of a large swimming pool
and other sports facilities, was
dedicated last week at the Weiz-
mann Institute of Science in Re-

Guest of honor was the British
Zionist, Mrs. Miriam Sacher, who
together with her husband Harry

established the center in the name
of the institute president, Meyer
W. Weisgal, and his wife Shirley.
Prof. Amos de-Shalit, director
general of the Weizmann Institute,
presented Mrs. Sacher with the
Weizmann Award in the Sciences
and Humanities for 1967.

Poll Shows Problem in Preserving Jewishness

NEW YORK — American Jews
are encountering growing prob-
lems both internal and external in
preserving their Jewishness, ac-
cording to a five-year study of
American Jewish life released
Wednesday by the American Jew-
ish Committee.
Internally, they find difficulty in
accepting the traditional Jewish
The departure from Russia to the West of Svetlana, Stalin's religion with its numerous daily
• daughter, has re-emphasized how Stalin's animosity towards the rituals, but they feel that today's
Jews was carried over into his private life and that of his family Judaism, which stresses the ethi-
and the paradox that there were at least two Jews in her life.
cal concepts of Judaism almost to
When Svetlana was 17, in 1942, she married a Jewish fellow- the exclusion of the ritual, does
student called Grigori Moroz (Morozov), and this was considered not differentiate them sufficiently
to be the happiest of her several marriages. Her 22-year-old son, from the rest of the community.
Yosif, is a child of Svetlana's marriage to Moroz.
Externally, they are made un-
In 1948, however, Stalin banished his Jewish son-in-law, to- easy by the attitudes of their Gen-
gether with all his family, to a Siberian labor camp, and Svetlana tile neighbors, who see Jewishness
was forced to divorce him.
as an obstacle to Jewish integra-
After this, the Soviet dictator ordered his daughter to marry tion into the general society.

In the same issue, the London Jewish Chronicle's columnist, Chron-
icler, carried this item about Stalin's daughter:

Weisgal Sports Center _
Dedicated at Rehovot

Christians and Jews in "Lake-
ville," the cover name given a
large Midwestern suburb that was
examined for five years under a
project sponsored by the AJCom-
The community was chosen be-
cause it showed present-day social
and demographic trends within
American Jewy in an advanced
stage, and thus could serve as an
indicator of what lies ahead for
much of America's Jewish popula-
Lakeville is labeled as typical
of prosperous suburban communi-
ties in which Jews are a sizeable
group but still a minority.
It is a community of 25,000, ap-
proximately one-third of whom are
Jewish. Most of the Jews inter-
viewed (92 per cent) were native
Americans. The rest were divided
between natives of Eastern Europe
and later arrivals from Germany
or Austria who came here as re-
fugees from Nazism.

Those questioned were pre-
dominantly second- and third-
generation 'Americans, with a
smaller group representing the
fourth generation.

A major section of the study
examined religious beliefs among
Lakeville's Jews in terms of their
conception of the "good Jew." The
typical subject considered himself
a "good Jew," even though his
daily life in most cases was not in
accord with traditional Jewish laws

and customs.
He revealed a strong desire to

survive as a Jew, and he hoped
his children would continue as
such, but his version of "Jewish-
ness" would hardly be recogniz-
able to members of previous gen-
Jewishness, the study asserts,
has become inextricably inter-
mingled with ethics in Lakeville.
In other times and places, a typi-
cal view was that "being a good

Jew makes you a good person." port for Israel by 21 per cent.
The modern Lakeville Jew feels
In the category of what was con-
that "being a good person makes sidered "desirable" rather than
you a good Jew."
"essential" for being a "good Jew,"
The report found that most these were the high ranking
Jews in Lakeville believed that items-

cultivating good relations with
non-Jews and working for the
welfare of the town were part
of being a "good Jew."

Other attributes deemed essen-
tial were the following:
1. Accept being a Jew, and do
not try to hide it.
2. Support all humanitarian
3. Promote civic betterment and
improvement in the community.
4. Gain respect of Christian
5. Help the underprivileged im-
prove their lot.
6. Know the fundamentals of
Religious piety, the report indi-
cates, was not considered by many
to be a prerequisite for being a
"good Jew"—only 24 per cent felt
that attendance at synagogue ser-
vices, even during the High Holy
Days was required.' Marrying with-
in the Jewish faith was considered
vital by only 23 per cent, and sup-

1. Be well-versed in Jewish
history and culture.
2. Marry within the Jewish
3. Contribute to Jewish philan-
4. Belong to Jewish organiza-
5. Know the fundamentals of
6. Support Israel.
7. Attend weekly services.
8. Attend services on High
Holy Days.
9. Belong to a synagogue or


Social separation between Chris-
tian and Jew was found to prevail
even though Lakeville Jews and
Christians worked together for
common goals.
The study foresees an uncertain
future for Lakeville Jews as Jews,
anticipating a large degree of as-
similation unless the youth of the
community acquire a large sense
of Jewish identity.

Boris Smolar's

'Between You
.. and Me

(Copyright, 1967, JTA, Inc.)
JEWISH LEADERSHIP: The retirement of Dr. John Slawson

from the post of executive vice-president of the American Jewish Com-
mittee—a post he held for 24 years— will be a great loss to the
work of strengthening Jewish identity in this country .. . Dr. Slawson
was not only the highest executive officer of the American Jewish
Committee; he was also the theoretician of this important Jewish Organ-
ization, and as such contributed very strongly to the efforts of develop-
ing a stronger Jewish consciousness among many thousands of Ameri-
can-born Jews ... Under his executive direction the American Jewish
Committee has gained great popularity in the ranks of American
Jewry . . . It is he who converted the American Jewish Committee
from a closed circle of individual Jewish leaders to a mass-organization
with branches in all major communities, thus bringing in a spirit of
democracy in the organization . . . Today the image of the American
Jewish Committee is far different than it was a quarter of a century
ago, and it is Dr. Slawson who was chiefly responsible for changing
this image . . . No longer do we hear that the American Jewish Com-
mittee is an organization of "Shtadlonim"—self-appointed advocates
of American Jewry; on the contrary, the AJCommittee is today con-
sidered as the "Organization Number One" in representing the senti-
ments of the American Jewish community in various fields . . . Dr.
Slawson has also to his credit the establishment of the Institute of
Human Relations at the American Jewish Committee and it was during
his period of administration the AJCommittee had built its beautiful
impressive building in New York which has become the center for
human relations activities .. . Much more—very much more—can be
said about the achievements of the American Jewish Committee dur-
ing the years when Dr. Slawson was its executive head . . . This

would include the present strong pro-Israel stand maintained by the
American Jewish Committee as against the non-Zionist sentiments
that prevailed in the Committee a quarter of a century ago . . It
would also include the successful efforts of the American Jewish
Committee, made quietly in the Vatican, which brought about the
issuance of the declaration by the last Ecumenical Council repudiating
the charge of collective guilt of the Jewish people for the crucifixion
of Jesus ... Not to speak of the AJCommittee's surveys which resulted
in elimination of anti-Jewish discrimination in various sectors of
American life . . . It is no coincidence that one of the last addresses
by Dr. Slawson before a recent conference of the AJCommittee was
on the subject "Toward a Community Program for Jewish Identity"
. . . Varied and involved as his work was, the question of strengthen -
ing Jewish identity was one that evoked his greatest interest .
considered it a great challenge and he devoted a good deal of his


efforts to have the American Jewish Committee meet this challenge
. . . In retiring from his present post, Dr. Slawson will remain as
consultant of the American Jewish Committee with a special office
and secretary ... He will join the faculty of the Columbia University

from which he holds a doctorate degree .. . He taught at Columbia
years ago.

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