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October 01, 1976 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-10-01

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2 Friday, October 1, 1976

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

The Babi Yar Anniversary, the Horror That Haunts
World Jewry Over a Russian Attitude of Hiding
Jewish Sufferings During Nazi Threat to USSR

By Philip
Slomovitz

Babi Yar ReCollections: Russia Remains Indicted

Sept. 29 marked a tragic anniversary. On that day,
35 years ago, tens of thousands of Jews were buried
alive, murdered, by Nazi hordes, with White Russian
hooligans as cohorts, standing by silently, during one
of the most atrocious crimes of World War II.
Why was Russia silent during the years that fol-
lowed Sept. 29, 1941? What was there to gain in forget-
ting the memory of the martyrs?
Years later, in 1961, the great Russian poet
Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote a powerful protest
against the inaction by his fellow Russians in virtually
hiding the realities of that crime. Yevtushenko wrote
in "Babi Yar," as presented in this translation:

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A drop sheer as a crude gravestone.

I am afraid.
Today I am as old in years
as all the Jewish people.
Now I seem to be a Jew.
Here I plod through ancient Egypt.
Here I perish crucified, on the cross,
and to this day I bear the scars of nails.
I seem to be Dreyfus.
The Philistine
is both informer and judge.
I am behind bars.
Beset on every side.
Hounded, spat on, slandered.
Squealing, dainty ladies in flounced
Brussels lace
stick their parasols into my face.
k l seem to be then a young boy in Byelostok.
Blood runs, spilling over the floors.
The bar-room rabble-rousers
give off a stench of vodka and onion.
A boot kicks me aside, helpless.
In vain I plead with these pogrom bullies.
While they jeer and shout,
"Beat the Yids. Save Russia!"
some grain-marketeer beats up my mother.
0 my Russian people! I know you
are international to the core.
But those with unclean hands
have often made a jingle of your
purest name.
I know the goodness of my land.
How vile these anti-Semites — without a qualm
they pompously called themselves
"The Union of the Russian People!"
I seem to be Anne Frank
transparent as a branch in April.
And I love
And have no need of phrases.
My need is that we gaze into each other.
How little we can see or smell!
We are denied the leaves, we are denied the sky.
Yet we can do so much — tenderly
embrace each other in a dark room
They're coming here?
Be not afraid. Those are the booming
sounds of spring:, spring is coming here.
Come then to me.
Quick, give me your lips.
Are they smashing down the door?
No, it's the ice breaking ..

adjoining Babi Yar . . . I could see well how at the
ravine's edge the columns were stopped, how
everyone was stripped naked, their clothes piled in
orderly bundles. Then they were put in a row at the
very edge of the ravine and shot in the neck by
machine guns; children were thrown alive into the
ravine. -
As Eugene Gold, chairman of the National Con-
ference on Soviet Jewry has indicated:
The Soviet Government's newly erected monu-
ment at Babi Yar perperutates the Soviet's denial of
Jewish history. The monument, which makes no men-
is buried forever.
tion of Jews, is an all embacing embargo and a pi::
In my blood there is no Jewish blood.
example of the Soviet authorities'
In their callous rage, all anti-Semites
suffering.
must hate me now as a Jew.
Estimates of the number of Jews killed vary bet-
For that reason I am a true Russian!
Even Yevtushenko is silent now. Is it the Russian ween 70,000 and 100,000. Thereafter, the site was used
anti-Israel position that has assumed a reiterated as a routine place of execution and in the next two
form of anti-Semitism, that may have caused a current years thousands of people of various Soviet
nationalities were slaughtered and buried there.
Yevtushenko indifference?
. According to Soviet news agency reports, and an
The silence over Babi Yar adds to the concern over
Russian apathy_ towards Jews, the Russian capitula- account in Pravda, the -newly dedicated 50-foot high
memorial depicts 11 dead and dying victims about to
tion to the old form of Czarist anti-Semitism.
Must Russia remain indicted, with Babi Yar; as fall into the Babi Yar ravine and omits all references
evidence of a silence over a great crime that makes the to Jews. The inscription reads, "Here in 1941-1943
German Fascist occupiers killed more than 100,000
USSR government a condoner of the crime?
_ Babi Yar sets a mark of Cain on the USSR, whose citizens of Kiev and prisoners of war."
To this day there is not one official major monu-
guilt in dealing with an historic tragedy only multip-
ment to the Jewish victims of Nazism anywhere in the
lies her own tragedies.
Not all Russians were silent, as this fact sheet Soviet Union. Not only do the Soviet authorities op-
prepared by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry pose the building of Jewish memorials, but to gather at
Babi Yar, to visit the sites of massacred relatives and
shoWs: -
Dec. 4, 1957 --The renowned So.viet author V. participate in services of remembrance for the dead, is
Nakrasov protested the plan to turn Babi Yar into an act which is closely watched by the Soviet secret
a park and soccer field and demanded the erection police (KGB).
of a monument.
Aug. 2, 1971 — A hunger strike at Babi Yar.
Twelve Jews were arrested after the memorial
service.
Sept. 5, 1971 —'2A. day of mourning at Babi Yar.
Jewish delegations from across the Soviet Union
placed wreaths and lit memorial candles at the
site. The police tried to disperse the crowd,
placards written in Yiddish and Hebrew were con-
fiscated and destroyed. Thirty Jewish youths at-
tempted to gather at the synagogue but were pre-
vented by plain-clothes police.
April 12, 1972 — 84 Jews in the USSR appealed
to the authorities to allow them a memorial ser-
vice.
Oct. 2, 1974 — Soviet authorities decide to
erect a memorial. --
Oct. 2, 1975 — Piotr Kriksunov and Alexander
Ginsburg commemorated on Sept. 28 the creation
of a monument. Soviet authorities arrested the
two, later releasing them.
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry pre-
pared an outline .of the Babi. Yar tragedy in which it
systemmatized the historiC agonies as follows:
An eyewitness report, recorded in an official
account, related the grim finale of the procession of
Jews as it reached Babi Yar 35 years ago: "They
were ordered to deposit on the ground in a neat pile
all the belongings they brought with them and, then,
in tight colums. of 100 each, were marched to the

The wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar.
The trees look ominous, like judges.
Here all things scream silently, and, baring my head,
slowly I feel myself turning gray.
And I myself am one massive, soundless scream
above the thousand thousand buried here.
I 'am each old man here shot dead.
I am every child here shot dead.
Nothing in me shall ever forget!
The "Internationale," let it thunder
when the last anti-Semite on earth

Syria's Lebanese Stranglehold:
What's in Store for Israel?
If a Newsweek prognosis of what is happening in Lebanon is correct, then
there is cause for puzzlement and concern over future developments in the
Middle East. Newsweek believes and predicts:
Syria's President Hafez Assad is going all out once more to settle Leba-
non's seemingly endless civil war— and this time U.S. diplomats, though wary
because so many previous cease-fires have failed, think he could succeed.
Their reasons? Assad now controls two-thirds of the country; Israel's new
influence in southern Lebanon; the general disarray among left-wing
Lebanese Muslims.
Assad's plan would make permanent the present de facto partition of
Lebanon, with Muslims getting a bit more power and Syria policing the peace.
The losers would be the Palestinians, who would be forced to disarm.
- Assad has held meetings in his capital with Lebanese President-elect
Elias Sarkis and right-wing Christian leader Camille Chamoun (the latter's
first trip to Damascus in 20 years). He will sit doWn next with the left-wing
Muslings and Palestinians.
From the outset it was assumed that Syria's role in the struggle for power
in Lebanon was motivated by the claim that Lebanon is a part of Syria, based
on the pre-World War I experiences, and that reuniting of territory is Syria's
aim. In spite of denials, the Syrian military actions substantiated the predic-
tions of Syrian control of the country. With two-thirds of Lebanon now in
Syrian control, the strong stand Syrian PreSident Hafez Assad has taken
against the PLO becomes more readily understandable.
On the surface, it might be believed that the reduction of PLO power will
prove a blessing for Israel. Yet, there is the compelling anxiety over future
possibilities in an area in which Syria, which has been more admantly anti-
Israel in its disputes with Egypt, might be an even greater menace to the
Jewish state if Syrian power increases.
Equally puzzling is the attitude of the Lebanese Christian community. As
it reorganizes, possibly into a new partitioned state, will it join the anti-Israel
forces or will it show gratitude to the Israelis who have been helpful to the
suffering Christian community in Lebanon?

Aid Israel has given and continues to give to the Lebanese is so impressive
that it staggers the imagination. Moshe Ron, Jewish News Israel correspon-
dent, presents these important facts concerninc, Israel's aid:.
Up til now 6,208 Lebanese citizens, 3,80eChristians and 2,399 Moslems,
have received medical help at the "good fence. - Some 201 were transferred to
Israeli hospitals. Lebanese citizens buy flour, sugar, oil, coffee and other
foodstuffs in Israel on a daily basis. Israel helps the Lebanese in supplying
their drinking water and agricultural experts instruct them how to till their
fields. Lebanese citizens are visiting their relatives in Israel and Israel put its
postal services at their disposal. Some 137 are working in Israel_
Future developments in the Middle East are as uncertain as that-of L"'-a-
r
non. At best the Israeli and the Jewish position calls for caution anc: .
preparation for all eventualities. The hope is that the Arabs will recognize;.
futility of anti-Israelism as well as of a fratricidal war. Now it is necessary to
await time's resolutions. Only time will provide the answers to all the puzzles
in Arabism -and the Middle East.

Such Irony! . . . When Hostages
Become Enamored With Bandits
Georgie Annegeyer, in a Los Angeles Times Syndicate article, makes an
interesting point about hostages and their reactions to bandits and hijackers.
Very often, he shows, hostages become enamored with those holding them
prisoner on hijacked planes and they speak with admiration for the terrorists
as if they were heroes.
"They treated us well" is a common comment, and the terrorists often
make converts to their heinous schemes of those who were at the point of
loaded guns or threatened by dynamite.
Annegeyer also points out that PLO terrorists have even succeeded in
convincing their victims that they had a good cause against the Jews and
Israelis.
These evidences have been noted in the past, and Annegeyer's expose
indicates a grave condition indicating guillibility that renders harm to decency
and avoids successful efforts against terrorism.
What can one do when human nature itself can become guillible and
subject to evil?

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