<h3>From Readers On Our June Editorial
Jews, Marxism and the Worker's Movement

From Readers On Our June Editorial

First Published: Jewish Life, August 1956.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Enclosed check for $13. We will work on more.

The June issue is required reading for all who want to understand themselves and the gruesome times we live in–faith shattered, is not healed overnight. The dismal delinquency of socialist morality is appalling to those who believed so fervently, spoke so eloquently, defended so vigorously.

That is why your June issue is so wholesomely refreshing. It puts into words the thoughts and feelings of so many–who are numb. It points a path ahead, of work for the ideals of socialism and decency and morality–that knows no country’s boundary.

It helps lighten the mood of despair –lift the pall of mourning–move people into the pathway of constructive work–which is the only cure and answer.

The Jewish community–and we most of all–needs JEWISH LIFE magazine–for today–and for the future –which still belongs to the people.

SOL ROTENBERG Philadelphia

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I want to send you my congratulations for the lead article in the June issue [“Review and Reappraisal,” by The Editorial Board]. It is the best we have yet had in our Jewish press. I am only sorry you folks didn’t say that in the May issue. Why did it take so long?


Editors’ Note: In answer to Mr. Strauss’ question–the Folks-Shtimme article arrived just as we were going to press with the May issue and it was all we could do to rush a translation into that number. We were able only to add a brief editorial comment for the May issue.

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The soberness and honesty of your “Review and Reappraisal” [June issue] are the necessary beginnings to a sharp change in the thinking and attitudes of JEWISH LIFE and all Jewish progressives.

The sentence–“We were not resourceful enough to develop means of inquiry and protest that would have clearly distinguished us from enemies of peace”–seems to me to have been the kernel of your attitudes and judgments. We hold in disdain those who refuse to support policies and ideas they believe in because the Communists support these policies; but we, ourselves, have been guilty of the same thing. If enemies of the Soviet Union state certain facts–ipso facto, they cannot be true.

If JEWISH LIFE is to continue to exist and play a role in the life of the Jewish community, it must begin to examine and analyze ideas and events from a [factual basis, not merely on the basis i that these events did or did not take place in a socialist country. I Let us press for a full revelation of all the ramifications of the anti-Semitic I outrages that took place in the socialist countries, so that we may evaluate them fully, place them in proper perspective and be ever vigilant against their recurrence.

Specifically, your June issue reports a Manchester Guardian story of Jews tried in the USSR this year for possessing and distributing Zionist literature. I believe you should ask the Soviet Embassy whether this alleged trial took place and insist that, if it did, the trial record be published, so that Jews and the world public may form their own judgment of whether further anti-Semitism was involved. The text of such a letter of inquiry should be published in JL, and publicized to the general press.


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Your June editorial [“Review and Reappraisal”] was a creditable effort. We all share the onus and the pain; yours is easy to understand.

It has become known by word of mouth that certain individuals influential in determining your policies were informed of quite a few of the horrors but rejected the notion that questions should be asked. Have they learned? It will be quite some time before anyone or anything is again treated like Caesar’s wife. Those who resist frank discussion and questioning will in due course be smoked out and cordially invited to get in step or depart.

Your own firmness is encouraging but in need of support. Late in your editorial you recognize that the Czech government statements about Slansky et al, have not been backed up with evidence-in-public. Earlier in that editorial you referred to their statements much more trustingly–a hangover to be rooted out. I believe that nothing should be taken for granted. Transcripts and facsimiles of documents can be reproduced cheaply these days. All that is required is some thought, planning, and arranging. Such materials are owed the world, in my judgment, by the governments of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the U.S.S.R. especially.

One of your correspondents impressed me greatly with the observation that it is “some self-correction system” that gets started only after the death of one man. There is no safety in the allegedly “automatic,” any more than in the other cult. Human thought and action, with individual responsibility and organizational mutuality bound by unfettered exchange of opinion– there only lies safety.

Finally, let me urge you not to lose sight of the importance of graceful English. The editorial showed your stress partly by a loss of literary quality. Get back up on top again, please. You are competing with a press filled with first-class writers. There is no reason why you should not do just as well.

Good luck.