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However, I do want to discuss for a moment the reason why I am appearing here. It is out of concern for the persecution and discrimination which has been practiced upon the Soviet Jews, and out of a strong belief that the Congress should express officially through a resolution its concern about these conditions helping in this way to mold the world opinion and build world pressure.
I ask that my full statement be included as though read, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Without objection, it is so ordered. (Congressman Ryan's prepared statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM F. RYAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Chairman: I appreciate the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee on Europe of the Committee on Foreign Affairs concerning the plight of Soviet Jewry.
There is a saying. Everyone knows it. The saying is l'Chaim. Life. I say it to the Jews of the Soviet Union who affirm their right to be Jews: l'Chaim.
Across the vast expanse of the Soviet Union there is a systematic effort underway to eradicate the Jews as a people. While this program is not aimed at the extermination of people, as were the mass slaughters and concentration camps of Hitler, nevertheless this effort seeks to eradicate the identity of Jews in the Soviet Union.
RELIGIOUS PRACTICES LIMITED Jews in the Soviet Union cannot practice their religion. Their homes are searched in an attempt to find illegal Hebrew books. The Hebrew language cannot be studied. And, perhaps most grotesque of all, Jews cannot escape this oppression; and most of those who seek to emigrate from the Soviet Union are not allowed to do so.
Leonid Rigerman, the 30-year old physicist, whom I aided in entering this country by intervening with the State Department in order to confirm his U.S. citizenship, put it this way:
“A Jew cannot be a Jew in Russia. We are deprived of all forms of Jewish culture; you cannot study the language; Jewish religious literature is forbidden."
Thus, it is not surprising that a great deal of legislation, some of which is before this Subcommittee, has been introduced in this Congress, dealing with various aspects of the question of Soviet Jewry.
With respect to the legislation before this Subcommittee, I have introduced H. Res. 43. I have also joined on cosponsoring H. Con. Res. 393, initiated by Congressman O'Neill and Congressman Anderson. I have also cosponsored H. Con. Res. 245 introduced by Congressman Rodino.
H. Res. 43, which I introduced in January of this year, provides :
"Whereas the House of Representatives deeply believes in freedom of religion for all people and is opposed to infringement of this freedom anywhere in the world; and
"Whereas abundant evidence has made clear that the Government of the Soviet Union is persecuting Jewish citizens and imposing restrictions that prevent reuniting of Jews with their families in other lands; and
"Whereas the Soviet Union has a clear opportunity to match the words of its constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion with specific actions that the world may know whether there is a genuine hope for a new day of better understanding among all people: Now, therefore, be it
“Resolved, That the House of Representatives condemns the persecution of any persons because of their religion by the Soviet Union; urges that the Soviet Union in the name of decency and humanity fully permit the free exercise of religion and the pursuit of culture by all Jews and all others within its borders; and urges that the Soviet Union allow those citizens who wish to emigrate to do so."
FORMAL, INFORMAL CHANNELS
H. Con. Res. 393 is similar. It provides that the U.S. Government should use all available formal and informal channels, including the United Nations, to bring to bear the influence of this government on behalf of these persecuted people. The President is asked to call upon the Soviet Government to honor the words of its own constitution by permitting the free expression of ideas and exercise of religion by all its citizens. The President, further, is asked to demand of the Soviet Government that it permit its citizens the right to emigrate to the countries of their choice. And this resolution calls upon the State Department to raise in the General Assembly of the United Nations the issue of the Soviet Union's transgression of the Declaration of Human Rights.
H. Con. Res. 245 similarly expresses the concern of Congress for the plight of Soviet Jews, particularly the Soviet Union's restrictions on emigration, by urging the President to take steps to persuade the Soviet Union to permit Jewish emigration.
Congress should speak out for those principles which bind men of good will into a larger and greater unity. By reporting out H. Res. 43, or similar legislation, the Committee will be calling for freedom and justice and equality.
As I said, methods are different in kind from those of the Nazis, but they nonetheless intend the erasure of Jews as Jews from the face of the land.
SOVIET JEWS RESIST
But the Soviets are discovering that it is not so easy. They have met resistance. Young Jewish men and women have engaged in sit-ins, in the Soviet Union. Yes, sit-ins, that American style of protest, have been brought to the Soviet Union.
Soviet Jewry needs the help and support of world opinion this year because of world pressure, 5,000 Jews have been allowed to leave Russia for Israel, whereas the rate in previous years has not exceeded 1,000. And as recently as last Saturday (Nov. 6) the New York Times reported a new upsurge in Soviet Jewry emigration. All this is due to world pressure.
And Congress has exerted pressure in the past. Last December, at the time of the Leningrad trial of nine Jews, we persuaded the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House leadership to bring to the floor House Resolution 1336, which condemned religious persecution in the Soviet Union, and urged the Soviet Union to allow those citizens who wished to emigrate to do so. The passage of that resolution, put the Congress on record, helping to sustain and increase world pressure. Let us affirm our stand again this year.
I am pleased that the Attorney General recently announced that he will exercise his parole authority to enable the entrance into this country of Soviet Jews. That was in response to Congressional pressure.
Although it is not before this subcommittee, I should call attention to my resolultion H. Res. 454 (H. Res. 455, 456, 460, 468, 567, 581, and 590 with cosponsors) which urges that the Voice of America undertake broadcasts in Yiddish into the Soviet Union. I am pleased to note that there are 101 cosponsors in the House and 22 in the Senate.
By broadcasting in Yiddish to the Soviet Jews we will be showing support for them by reaching them in their mother tongue. In the 1959 Soviet census—the latest data available—it was reported that 2,267,000 Soviet Jews speak Yiddish. Most of them can understand Russian as well. But the significance of broadcasting to them in their own mother language cannot be underestimated.
IMPORTANCE OF YIDDISH
Perhaps the most eloquent words about the importance of the Yiddish language to Soviet Jewry are those which Der Nister, one of the major Soviet Yiddish writers and one of Stalin's victims, wrote some years ago :
“I write in Yiddish not because I cannot write in any other language or in a language which is more widely used, but because there is no one with whom you can be as sincere, honest, and truthful as you are with the mother who gave you birth. What sense can all of my work have if I should think that the language of my people is dying out? I have always been an optimist. I believe in the existence of my people and my language."
The precedents for broadcasting to the Soviet Union in Yiddish exist. Currently, the Voice of America broadcasts to several population groups within the Soviet Union whose numbers are less than the total of Soviet Jewry. For example, the Voice broadcasts in their native languages to 1.3 million Estonians, to 1.8 million Slovenians, to 1.9 million Latvians, to 2.73 million Lithauanians, to 2.83 million Georgians, and to 2.94 million Armenians.
Broadcasting in Yiddish to the Soviet Union will give strong psychological support to Soviet Jewry.
Likewise adoption of H. Res. 43 condemning Soviet persecution and calling for religious freedom in the Soviet Union will intensify world pressure which cannot be ignored by the Soviet leadership.
STATEMENT OF Hox. ROBERT MCCLORY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF ILLINOIS Mr. Chairman, I am indeed encouraged by the decision to hold open hearings on this measure (H. Con. Res. 394) and related measures aimed at responding to the worldwide concern for the welfare of Jews in the Soviet Union,
Mr. Chairman, I was present on the steps of the Capitol last week when a petition signed by more than 100,000 Americans of the Jewish faith was delivered to a group of Members of the Congress protesting the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.
Mr. Chairman, the plight of Soviet Jews has been documented in a report prepared by Congressional Reference Service. The horrible conditions facing Jews in the U.S.S.R. also have been summarized in various documents, in newspaper and magazine articles, and elsewhere.
Mr. Chairman, recently my constituents, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Braverman, 385 North Deere Park Drive, Highland Park, Ill., and Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Alpert, 1441 Linden, Highland Park, Ill., visited the Soviet Union as tourists. In the course of their visit, the Bravermans and the Alperts had occasion to meet a small number of Soviet Jews whose experiences of persecution and intimidation have been such that they have been seeking to emigrate from the Soviet Union.
Mr. Chairman, these American citizens were humiliated and harassed at the Moscow airport at the time of their intended departure from the Soviet Union. They were completely searched, intensively interrogated for a period of several hours, detained for a period of 30 hours, and suffered the confiscation of a tape recorder, a camera, and other personal items.
Mr. Chairman, these honorable and law-abiding citizens of the United States appeared to have violated no laws or regulations and their only interest has been to be informed firsthand concerning the welfare of their coreligionists of Soviet citizenship in whom they naturally have a deep concern and common interest.
Mr. Chairman, as a cosponsor of this measure (H. Con. Res. 394) I commend you on initiating these hearings, and I feel certain that favorable action on this resolution can produce the kind of encouragement and tangible results which will restore a greater measure of individual and religious freedom to Soviet Citizens and facilitate the emigration from Soviet Union of those Soviet Jews who wish to leave.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Thank you very much, Mr. Ryan. We are very grateful to you for appearing before the subcommittee.
The next witness is Richard T. Davies, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
1 See p. 201.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD T. DAVIES, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE 1
Biography Mr. Davies was born in Brooklyn, New York, May 28, 1920. He was educated at Columbia University, receiving an A.B. in 1942. While serving in the United States Army (1942-45), he took advanced German area and language training at Ohio State University (1943–44) and served in military government in Germany (1944-45).
Following his Army service, Mr. Davies was employed as a Plant Correspondent with General Motors overseas operations (1916). He was later an instructor in German at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (1946–47).
A career Foreign Service Officer since 1947, Mr. Davies has spent 16 of his 23 years in the Foreign Service working in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and in positions in Washington and Paris dealing with Soviet and Eastern European affairs. He served as political officer at Warsaw (1947–49) and Moscow (1951-53 and 1961-63) and on the International Staff of NATO in Paris (1953– 55), and as public Affairs Advisor in the Offices of Eastern European Affairs (1958–59) and Soviet Union Affairs (1959–61) in the Department of State. Before his first assignment to Moscow, Mr. Davies studied the Russian language and received Soviet area training at the Foreign Service Institute, Middlebury College, and Columbia University (1950-51). In 1963, following his second assignment to Moscow as Political Counselor, Mr. Davies was detailed to the Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy at the Foreign Service Institute. In 1964, he served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Executive Secretariat in the Department. From 1965 to 1968, Mr. Davies was Assistant Director for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the United States Information Agency, which conferred its Superior Honor Award on him in 1968.
Mr. Davies also served as political officer at the American Embassy in Kabul from 1955 to 1958. His most recent assignment overseas was as Consul General in Calcutta (1968–69). He returned to Washington in August 1969 to become a Member of the State Department's newly formed Planning and Coordination Staff, with responsibility for U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Mr. Davies assumed his present duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in August 1970.
Mr. Davies is the author of "The Fate of Polish Socialism,” in Philip E. Mosely, editor, The Soviet Union, 1922–62 (1963), and “The American Commitment to Public Propaganda," in Clark C. Havighurst, editor, International Control of Propaganda (1967).
Mr. DAVIES. I have asked to accompany me today an old friend and colleague, Foreign Service Officer Sol Polansky, who returned this summer from 3 years as an officer of our Embassy in Moscow, and who was able to observe many of the things I am going to talk about, on the spot.
Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for the opportunity today to present to you and the members of your committee the views of the Department of State on the situation of Jews in the Soviet Union.
Let me voice at the outset the concern of Secretary Rogers and all of us in the Department of State over this problem. We have always supported the right of peoples everywhere to free emigration, to religious freedom, and to the preservation of their cultural heritage and identity.
We sympathize with Jews and others in the Soviet Union who have sought through legal means to exercise these rights, which are proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and generally recognized in the community of nations.
1 See p. 297 for Mr. Davies' complete statement.
President Nixon has given official recognition to the designation by the United Nations, of 1971, as the International Year for Action TO Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. He has called upon all Americans to join in observing the year "through deeds and words which promote a spirit of brotherhood and of mutual respect among all peoples.” It is in this spirit that I am making this statement.
Mr. Chairman, my purpose here today is threefold: (1) To describe the situation of Jews in the Soviet Union as we see it, (2) to discuss what is being done in the effort to improve that situation, and (3) to offer our conclusions about the right way and the wrong way to go about that effort.
Upon conclusion of my remarks, I will be glad to answer any questions you or your colleagues may wish to pose.
TIIE JEWISH CONDITION IN THE U.S.S.R.
Restrictions against Jewish religious and cultural life in the Soviet Union have been amply cataloged in recent years and need no elaboration here: Grossly inadequate religious facilities, pressures against synagogue attendance, lack of Yiddish or Hebrew language teaching, tokenism in the publishing and staging of Yiddish works, quota restrictions on university entrance, exclusion from careers considered sensitive or from important political jobs—these are well-documented facts.
Soviet Jews are deprived of the cultural ingredients needed to preserve their cultural and religious identity over the long term. And “anti-Zionism” has reached campaign proportions from time to time in connection with chronic tensions in the Middle East.
All Soviet citizens—not just Jews—suffer from the Soviet Government's policy of militant atheism and its refusal to consider emigration as a right rather than a rare privilege, as well as from other restrictions. But, the limitations on Jews have in many important respects been more stringent. This is chiefly because Jews appear to be suspect in a special way-many of them have kin abroad in Israel, the United States, and Western Europe, and “Jewishness" in the Soviet Union has come to be regarded by a certain segment of Soviet officialdom as a more alien phenomenon than the fact of association with other major religious or national cultures in the U.S.S.R.
At the same time, there can be no comparison with the terrible era of the Nazi holocaust or Stalin's blood purge of Jewish intellectuals. With respect to the majority, claims that Soviet Jews as a community are living in a state of terror seem to be overdrawn. Jews continue to be eminent in the Soviet economic, journalistic, scientific, medical, and cultural worlds, in numbers far out of proportion to their percentage of the population. They are still the best-educated Soviet minority. There is little evidence that the regime's “anti-Zionist" propaganda has spilled over into outright and widespread anti-Semitism or deliberate and sustained efforts to fan a "pogrom” mentality in Soviet society at large.