ARTHUR M. HORWITZ
The CAJE conference and Detroit's
delegation have innovative ideas.
ARTHUR J. MAGIDA
William Novak has become
the preeminent 'hired pen.'
VIVO Archive s
CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
Irving Rosenbaum has changed
directions at age 63.
Yiddish authors (from left) Mendel Elkin, Peretz Hirschbein, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Peretz Markish, Melekh Ravitch
and I.J. Singer: Utterly superfluous in the Soviet Union.
Stalin's Policy Of Persecuting
Jews Continues To This Day
ABRAHAM J. BAYER
Special to the Jewish News
n August 12, 1952, 24 leading
Yiddish writers, actors and poets
were executed by the Soviet
government. This was the ultimate in
Stalin's quest to eradicate Jewish culture
and Jewish life in the Soviet Union.
Despite glasnost, Soviet policy has
never veered from this goal.
Just after the revolution, numerous
Jewish cultural institutions flourished,
supposedly protected by the "Declaration
of Rights of the Peoples of Russia," signed
by Lenin in 1917. There were 11 daily Yid-
dish newspapers, more than 60 weeklies
and other journals, Yiddish theaters in
various cities, and publishing houses with
dozens of titles in editions reaching
millions. Yiddish was the language of the
Jewish minority. In the ensuing 1920s and
'30s, Jewish culture barely limped along
with minimal government assistance and
within prescribed Communist Party rules.
In the late 1940s, Stalin began to
systematically dismantle Jewish culture.
By 1948, only one school of higher learn-
ing remained, and it was closed later that
year. In 1949, all theaters were decreed to
become "self-supporting," with only
"minority-group theaters" eligible for sup-
port. The Yiddish State Theater in Moscow,
not being considered a minority-group
theater, had its subsidies withheld, thus en-
ding the glorious tradition of the Jewish
theater in Russia.
The campaign to crush Jewish life and
Abe Bayer is director of the international
commission of the National Jewish
Community Relations Advisory Council.
culture became more brutal in 1948 as
many writers and poets simply disap-
peared. Thus began the "Black Years."
Solomon Mikhoels, the great actor and
community leader, was lured to Minsk and
found decapitated in what was later
reported as an "auto accident!' Writers and
editors of the late Yiddish newspaper,
Einigkeit (unity) and the publishing house
Emes (truth) were imprisoned, never to be
heard from again. In the winter of 1948-49,
an estimated 431 artists, writers and musi-
cians disappeared into the gulag.
The trial which resulted in the "Night
of the Murdered Poets" began on July 11,
1952. Among the 25 accused were renown-
ed Jewish academics, physicians, and the
leading Jewish poets and writers in the
Soviet Union. They were charged with be-
ing "rebels;' "agents of American im-
perialism" who wanted to separate Crimea
from the Soviet Union to "establish their
own bourgeois national Zionist republic."
The verdict was announced on July 18 —
24 received the death penalty; only one, a
woman, was sentenced to a long prison
term. On August 12, the 'death sentences
were carried out in the cellars of Moscow's
Lubianka Prison. However, their execu-
tions were not acknowledged for years and
their bodies were never recovered. Only a
decade later, during the Khrushchev
"thaw," some of the writers' wives were
sent a slip of paper telling of their
husbands' "liquidation" with no explana-
tion other than it had been done "under a
After the death of Stalin, executions
were halted. But without schools, genera-
tions of Soviet Jewish children have grown
up ignorant of their Yiddish and Hebrew
Continued on Page 12
World travels and fame
have not clouded the actor's vision.
The Arab Echo
Sada Alwatan publishes another
view of the Israel-Arab dispute.
Art Of Poetry
Arthur Lipsitt masters verse
and organization at Borman Hall.
August 12, 1988
THE 'DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 7: