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Labor Action, 8 August 1949


Ed Findley

Report Jewish Editors
Purged in Stalin Zones


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 32, 8 August 1949, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Symptoms of Stalinist Russia’s new anti-Jewish disease continue to erupt all over the body politic of the Stalinist empire. The latest signs appear in Stalinist-controlled Germany and Austria.

In a dispatch from London, July 17, 1949, J. Dorfson, Yiddish journalist with very close contacts in the information services of the Jewish Agency, reported that a group of 28 Russian army officers, all of Jewish extraction, had been dismissed from their journalistic posts and arrested. These were editors and writers assigned by the Russian military to Stalinist-controlled German newspapers like the Berliner Taeglicher Rundschau.

Among those arrested were Col. Misha Bernstein, political editor of the Taeglicher Rundschau, and Col. David Neidorf, editor of the paper’s economics section. Also arrested were the following editors and writers of other German newspapers in the Soviet zone: Col. Grish Feldman, chief editor of the Neue Zeit; Major Abraham Weispaper, Haim Block and Nikolai Epstein, and Capitains Lola Shapiro and Leon Shocanowitz.

Purge in Vienna Too

If it were this report alone that had appeared, one could conceivably write it off as a reflection of some obscure local crisis. However, within ten days, sensational reports that the Russian military occupation authorities of Austria had discharged all Russian Jews working on Russian-controlled newspapers in Vienna began to be received in New York (Jewish Morning Journal, July 27, 1949).

The extent and completeness of this new Viennese purge far surpassed the limited purge in Russian-occupied Germany. Involved were the Russian Jewish personnel of four Viennese newspapers, Der Abend, Die Folksstimme, Oestreichisher Zeitung and Folks Woche.

Major Solomon Feuerstein, chief editor of the Folksstimme, committed suicide; Col. Rafael Shumonowitz, chief editor of the Abend, was arrested together with the other writers and sent back to Russia.

It is difficult to fit these extensive removals and arrests into any other than an anti-Semitic pattern. To explain these accumulating anti-Jewish moves merely in terms of an exaggerated anti-Zionism or excesses of a campaign against Jewish culture and nationalism seems entirely inadequate.

The conclusion that Stalinism has for some reason adopted an over-all anti-Semitic policy becomes more and more inescapable. Even the initial worldwide publicity has not acted as a deterrent, as it might have been expected to do.

The dynamics of this startlingly new departure in Stalinist practice is a complex question which will receive the attention it merits in coming issues of Labor Action.

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