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Labor Action, 18 July 1949


Al Findley

Russia Reported Deporting
Jewish Masses to Siberia


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 29, 18 July 1949, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Stalinist anti-Semitic campaign in Russia continues. The drive against Jewish cosmopolitans continues to be the public form. But beneath this campaign, more serious and, disturbing reports are beginning to reach the outside world.

Labor Action of April 11 said that the unhindered development of Stalinist anti-Semitism could lead to mass deportation of the Jews of Russia to Siberia. Unfortunately, it seems that this development is becoming a reality. We reprint below sections of a story by L. Arieh in the Jewish Morning Journal of July 6. The reader is cautioned that the report is unconfirmed. However, one must take into account the fact that an “Iron Curtain” hangs over Russia and the difficulties of getting absolutely reliable facts.

The truth about the arrest of the Jewish writers, the truth about the deportation of the Volga Germans, the Crimean Tartars and others, first became known through these sources. It was only years later that the “authorities” admitted the facts. The reports are of such a serious nature and fit in with the character of the regime that to ignore them would be criminal negligence.

“New reports that will cast terror into the hearts of all Jews all over the world have reached Paris through the same channels as the information concerning the arrest of the Jewish writers in Moscow. Then, too, people waited for denials ... but they never came ... Now the new information reports barbaric actions in the sequences of a policy of ‘neutralizing’ the Jewish population of Soviet Russia. According to those reports, two Soviet republics, the Ukraine and White Russia, are being cleared of Jews.

Picked Up by Police

“The reports are being confirmed by all travelers from Moscow (and other places in Russia) to Warsaw ... Poland remains the one country that to some extent acts as a bridge between Russia and the world ... On the road from Moscow these recent arrivals met long trainloads of deportees. Tens of trains with hundreds of cars packed with suffering and weary men, women and children, and the unfortunates are all Jews.

“Occasionally on a station one was able; to snatch a hurried conversation With some of the Jews who had been let out of the trains to get some water for the children. These Jews reported that all Jews without exception from the cities and towns of the Ukraine and White Russia are being deported.

“The NKVD uses the fact that the Russian passports give the nationality of the citizen. Every one whose passport reads ‘Jewish nationality’ is picked up by NKVD trucks and together with their possessions driven to a station where a train is awaiting them.

“At present with the first deportation, the Jews whose passports read ‘Russian,’ ‘White Russian’ or ‘Ukrainian’ are left alone. But no one is sure that they won’t be next after the job of evacuating the ‘Yevreiv’ is completed.

“Addressee Has Moved”

“After the war, many Jews returned io their old ‘homes’ [in the Ukraine and White Russia]. About a year ago, Moscow began to seek means of getting rid of the Jews who in their bulk inhabited certain areas. At first there was revived the old idea of transferring the Jews to Biro-Bidjan. In all cities and towns of White Russia (it began there) a great propaganda campaign was conducted to create a voluntary desire to migrate to the Jewish autonomous region by the Amur. The Jews of the entire Soviet Union knew the truth about Biro-Bidjan and so there were few volunteers. No detailed reason for the radical change of official government policy toward Jews is known.

“Should the barbaric deportations actually encompass ALL the Jews of the Ukraine and White Russia (and it does seem so) it would affect one million Jews. (These Jews are not being sent to Biro-Bidjan, but to the icy wastes of Siberia. – A.F.)

“The reports of the trainloads first reached Poland and made a grave impression on the Jewish Central Committee of Poland. At first it was kept secret but eventually it spread.

“A lively correspondence between Warsaw and Kiev and Minsk had been going on until recently. Only now did many Jews of Poland understand why the latest letters sent to relatives in the Soviet Union were returned with the inscription ‘Returned – Addressee has moved.’

“The Jews of Poland are in a position where they can do nothing but mourn. But will the Jews of the world be silent in the face of the barbaric fate being meted out to a million of their brothers and sisters? Won’t the Jews of the world raise a mighty voice of protest?”

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