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November 29, 1974 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-11-29

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Purely Commentary

Andrei Sakharov, the Consistent, Fearless Russian
Scientist Who Unhesitatingly Defends Jewish Rights,
and the Contrasts in Solzhenitsyn's Approaches.

By Philip
Slomovitz

Sakharov the Courageous Dissident Contracts With Solzhenitzyn Whose Libertarianism is Questioned

Many of Soviet Russia's dissidents, the protesters
Perhaps it is because he
gusted with Stalin. I never
who have defied suppression of free speech, have evi-
dislikes Stalin's commu-
felt toward the Russian dic-
denced great courage in their demands for justice. Per-
nism—and Lenin's—that he
tator anything else but hor-
haps the most consistent among the non-Jews in that can not restrain himself to
ror, in the strongest sense
category of brave people is Andrei Sakharov, the
praise the regime that pre-
of the word. But why com-
very eminent nuclear physicist. At every opportunity,
ceded it.
pare him with Hitler? Why
whenever a representative of the American government
He compares the two
not with Ivan the Terrible
visited Russia, he unhesitatingly expressed his support
eras, the two systems and
or Genghis Khan? And why
of the right of Jews who desire to leave for Israel to
it is clear which is his pref-
compare their victims? By
be granted exit visas.
erence: In czarist times, what right? And for what
fewer people were impris- ends? Why is he so eager
He has supported the efforts of U.S. Senator Henry
oned, for shorter periods of
Jackson in pressing for freedom of emigration for Rus-
to dramatize his tragedy
time, under less repugnant
sian Jews. He reiterated that view when U.S. Senator
while belittling o u r s?
conditions. Solzhenitsyn re- Doesn't he knoW that there
James L. Buckley visited Moscow. He supported Sen.
turns to these points fre- exists a level of suffering
Buckley's suggestion that an ad hoc committee be formed
to monitor whether the USSR is keeping its reported quently without ever recall- where two times two do not
ing the anti-Jewish laws,
pledge to permit the exit of 60,000 Russian Jews yearly.
make four? And that' there
the pogroms, the massacres
exists,
in evil, a limit be-
There is a contrast to the sentiments of Sakharov
in which the Jews were yond which comparisons are
In the attitude of the much wider acclaimed Aleksandr often the only victims. An
no longer relevant?
Solzhenitsyn. The latter's alleged liberalism is ques- omission which, one more
I repeat: It pains me to
tioned on occasions, yet the notoriety he has achieved
time, can only hurt us.
have to speak of this. But
seems to have prevented many from analyzing him fear-
As we are hurt by other
silence here would mean
lessly. Elie Wiesel, the famed and brilliant interpreter comparisons
of his pen. In-
acquiescence. Thus, trea-
of the after effects of the Holocaust, was not deterred
tentional or not, conscious-
son. The domain of the Holo-
by the prominence of Nobel Prize-winning from indi_
ly or not, they are directed
caust itself has become a
eating the Solzhenitsyn shortcomings. In an essay in
kind of no man's land in
the Bnai Brith national magazine on 'the subject "Where against us.
To undeeine Stalinist literature. People write
Solzhenitsyn Troubles Me", he .expressed his chagrin, in-
atrocities, he compares
about it — anything, any-
viting added attention to what must be viewed as an
where. They compare Har-
expose of the acclaimed Russian writer. While commenc- them to Hitler's horrors.
And there again, it's Hitler
lem to the Warsaw ghetto,
ing with the hope that he might have joined the ad-
who—excuse the expression
Vietnam to Auschwitz. One
mirers of Solzhenitsyn, Wiesel proceeded to list the faults,
—comes out better. More
dares to try to say the in-
stating with reference to his "Gulag Archipelago":
moderate, more rational, deScribable, to imagine the
Certain events are de-
have said to myself—and I less ferocious, more human unimaginable: One writes
scribed here for the first
continue to say — that a
than Stalin. Listen to this:
novels of fiction on themes
time; others shock us by great writer, speaking in Solzhenitsyn declares that which the survivors sup-
their interpretations. One
the name of conscience and the NKVD was more cruel press in themselves, in the
touched me particularly:
its requirements, cannot re- than the Gestapo. Why? Be-
burning silence of their
In my Jels of Silence, I
main blind to Jewish suffer- cause, the Gestapo tortured - glances. One treads on it
reported rumors to the ef-
ing, he has to be moved or,
prisoners in order to dis- all without even ,thinking
fect that Stalin, shortly be-
at least, interested.
cover the truth . . . Else- of apologizing.
fore his death, decided to
where—or is it in the same
I hope very much that
First of all, he deals lit-
deport all the Jews to Si- tle, very little, with Stalin's work?—he announces sim- Solzhenitsyn will revise his
beria. Solzhenitsyn confirms Jewish victims. When he ply that Hitler's crimes opinions one day; or, at
the rumor and adds details:
does deal with them, he pale before Stalin's: Hitler least, that he will explain
The dictator prepared a
killed only 6,000,000 Jews.
does it almost in passing,
them—if for nothing else;
public hanging of "the
while Stalin massacred in order to reassure some
in
footnotes.
However,
we
treacherous Jewish doctors"
20,000,000 people.
of his Jewish admirers who
at Red Square, followed by know very well that Stalin
The great English critic, would want to like him and
nurtured
a
black
and
sick
pogroms, with the partici-
George Steiner, denounced admire him without reser-
hatred for Jews—and Juda-
pation of the enraged popu-
recently Solzhenitsyn's bi- vations. The ambiguity does
ism.
Solzenitsyn
is
not
even
lace; the Jews would have
zarre attitudes toward Jews
been deported after that in curious to analyze the mo- and found his comparisons not suit him; rather, it will
order to assure their safe- tives and implications of obscene; I agree with condemn him. That is what
would sadden us. For Solz-
that hatred: How could this
ty • . .
Steiner's revulsion.
not astonish us?
henitsyn's sake.
It is natural that we read
I don't mind that Solz-
We, after all, have seen
He talks at length about
this work, despite its length-
henitsyn wants us to be dis-
others.
the
persecution
of
priests—
Mess and heaviness here
Much earlier than the appearance of the Wiesel
but not the persecution of
and there, with sustained
article, Mikhail Grobman, a Russian Jewish artist who
interest: We want to know rabbis,talmudistsand settled in Israel, wrote bitterly charging that Solzhe-
what happened there, in, thinkers, those who main-
tained the yeshivot. He de- nitsyn was a non-libertarian in an article in the Jerusa-
the country of the revolu-
lem Post, two years ago under the heading "Solzhe-
scribes
the m ea sures
tion where people seemed
nitsyn Does Not Deserve' His Reputation As Lover Of
to have accepted a new law against the church—but not Liberty." He leveled serious accusations at the Nobel
those against the syna-
announced by a new mes-
Prize winner. Here are portions of his declaration:
gogue. He dwells on the
siah.
often heroic torments of be-
Solzhenitsyn has of late
political life.. Solzhenitsyn
And yet, I find this book lieving Christians—but says
been raised on a pedestal is a typical chauvinist, with
disturbing not only because
nothing about the pain and
as a defender of freedom.
all that this implies. His
of its political and legal im-, the resistance of the be-
Is .this reputation deserved?
chauvinism differs of course
plications, but because of
lieving Jew.
There is no doubt that from the official chauvin-
its author. In other words,
Still more surprising: He
Solzhenitsyn is one Of the ism of today's Russia. For
it is the writer who troubles
is silent on the crimes per- few writers in Russia who example, the official func-
me as much as his book
petrated against Jewish
had the courage to write tionaries as a rule ignore
fills me with enthusiasm.
culture and its spokesmen. steadfastly and' consistently the role played by Jews in
Let me explain—and be-
He says nothing about their about the atrocities and
the Russian Revolution al-
live me - I do so not without
disappearance. Not h i n g mockeries of the Stalin era,
though it is hard to do SQ.
sadness.
about the arrest of Jewish although it should be added Solzhenitsyn, on the other
It has to do with Solzhe-
artists, nothing on their ex- 1. that he described life in the hand, tends rather to blame
nitsyn's attitude toward the
ecutions in the cellars of
Stalin concentration camps
the Revolution on the Jews,
Jewish tragedy under Stalin
the NKVD. Nothing on the in considerably subdued
as do the Russion "Black-
and under Hitler; it is that
murders of Mikhoels, Ber-
tones. He himself experi- Hundred" nationalists who
which troubles and hurts
gelson, Der Nister or Mar-
enced conditions in the oppose the Communist 're-
me.
kish. He did not knew them
prisons and concentration
gime. The Russian people is
To be truthful, I have
personally — be that the camps, and justifiably, has thus presented as a victim
heard rumors here and
case. But his account is full no wish to forgive the exe-
of unforgiving J e w i s h
there — insinuations ' which
of stories which did not cutioners their crimes. But cruelty—a highly popular
sought to denigrate his hu-
touch him personally. This justified vengence is one
concept among today's anti-
manism. Certain people book is not an autobiog-
thing, and the positive world Communist Black Hun-
have claimed that he does
raphy but a summation of
outlook of a champion of dreds.
not like Jews, or, at least,
biographies: How to explain freedom quite another. Solz-
Solzhenitsyn's. novel, "The
that their fate does not in-
that biographies of Jewish henitsyn lacks the latter.
First Cii'cle," is frankly di-
terest him. I refused to be-
martyrs are missing? Is it
One aspect of his work
rected against the Jews.
lieve these rumors. I have
possible that, among his se-
particularly highlights the The novel contains a num-
said to myself—and I con-
cret informers, there wasn't
author's blood ties with the
ber of Jewish characters,
tinue to say—that a great
anyone to inform him, if
traditional anti-liberal struc- and they are, without ex-
writer cannot be an anti- indeed he wanted to know?
ture that is a feature of
ception, scoundrels, traitors
Semite, he cannot refuse his
His exaggerated love of
Russia's entire history. This
and provocateurs. The best
compassion and his help to
czarism disturbs me. Ile
is the Jewish question,
among them, the repressed
seems to have a limitless
victims of the most tenaci-
which has been and remains
Communist Rubin, is a nor
ous hatred in history. I enthusiasm for the czar.
the touchstone of modern
mal enough person in every-

-

day life, but ideologically official careers of the Chek-
— a convinced Stalinist ist-Jews. He does not posess
hangman. This is a Jew
sufficient humane feeling
convicted of economic
for
more than that.
crimes who turns out to be
a paid informer. This is a
In the author's remark-
jailbird-Jew, a Chekist-
ably candid play, "Deer
Jew.
and Shack," a Jewish vil-
Solzhenitsyn does not lain intrigues against 2-
paint his Ghekist-Jews ex- honest front-line fights
and joins other scoundrels
clusively in black colors,
in storming prisoners. A -!‘
but this makes the author's
position even more danger- pulsively familiar plot, t
ous and jesuitical. There is this time from the pen
an interesting episode in
an alleged "fighter for
which t h e Chekist-Jew,
truth." Yet Solzhenitsyn
was well aware of the rela-
sensing imminent danger
tively high percentage of
from his own organization,
Jewish intellectuals in the
in a burst of semi-remorse
recalls a childhood incident.
concentration camps of the
There is a passage in which
time, and how courageously
a group of pioneers and
and honorably they en-
adults, led by a Jew, tor-
dured years and decades in
ture to death a Russian
conditions where man turn-
boy because he defends
ed into beast. What a
another boy, an anti-Semite.
treacherous stab in the
The sauce in which Solz-
back of his erstwhile corn-
henitsyn serves up this epi-
rades in misfortune! Not a
sode in no way differs from
word about them, as though
the feuilletons during the
they did not exist, struggle,
period of the "rootless cos- suffer, as if they are not
mopolitans." Moreover, Solz- buried in. the frozen -soil!
henitsyn presents the ugli-
It would appear that there
est period of this "cosmo-
were only Jewish hangmen
politanism" as a time which
-and Jews who directly
reverberated sadly , on the
helped the hangmen.
It would have been better if a Solzhenitsyn record
could be judged as glorious and above reproach. But a
writer with fame like his must not be kept disguised
while the facts negate his elevation to a role as a freedom
fighter. The Sakharov-Solzhenitsyn contrast is a necessity
in the study of personalities and ideologies as they relate
to Russia, the Russian Jews, and the total setting relating
to the battle of liberty and justice in the land of Com-
munism.

'

Institute Movie Tours Israel

Safed, centuries-old Jewish seat of learning, is one of
the highlights of the movie, "Let's Tour Israel," at the
Detroit Institute of Arts.

"Let's Tour Israel," a
documentary c o I o r movie
showing the Jewish people
and their dynamic nation(will
be presented for the World
Adventure Series at 3 p.m.
Dec. 8, in the Detroit Insti-
tute of Arts Auditorium.
Sid Dodson, world traveler
and professional film pro-
ducer, covers every corner
of peacetime Israel in his
movie, from the Lebanese
border to the Red Sea and
from the Jordan River to Tel
Aviv. He started his tour at
Lod Airport filming all the
sights of modern Tel Aviv
and the port cities of Jaffa,
Haifa and Acre, and Rosh
Hanikra on the Lebanese
border.
In Jerusalem, Dodson pic-

tures the united city with
'growing suburbs, the Knes-
set, priceless sculptures in
the Billy Rose Gardens, the
crowded bazaars in the old
quarter, pious Jews praying
at the Western Wall and the
stirring Independence Day
Parade.
Other sequences highlight
life at Kibutz Degania, two
immigrant towns, the stra-
tegic Golan Heights, Mt.
Hermon, camping in the
Huleh Valley, Safed, Masa-
da, Bethlehem, Nazareth,
the Sea of Galilee and the
Dead Sea.
For information, call the
World Adventure Series, TE
2-7676, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday.

2 Friday, Nov. 29, 1974

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS



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