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years, up to the very time of our expulsion from the USSR. My son and I were constantly summoned by the school principal and were pressured into believing that he would be setting a bad example, that we are deeply confused, etc. A teacher who worked at the school for 25 years told me that this was the first such case that he had encountered.
"At the same time, however, other school children wearing their Pioneer neckties often came up to my son, pressed his hand, and told him that they too believed in God, but that if they were to announce this openly, their parents would be fired from their jobs, and they were afraid. By that time our family had already become so completely "damned' in the eyes of the Soviet authorities, that we no longer had anything to lose, while other families had good reasons for being afraid to confess their faith openly. I knew many Moscow families where the parents lost their jobs or were demoted after a denunciation from the council for Religious Affairs was sent to the place of their employment, stating that they had baptized their child. And this did not happen during the legendary 1920's, but in the 1960's and 1970's. Thus, the authorities' pronouncements regarding 'freedom of conscience' are empty words.
"Religion cannot be taught even within the confines of church walls. In private homes it is also forbidden to create groups of more than three children for the study of religion. This means that in practice, Russian children are left without religious books and teachers, and are deprived of the opportunity to learn of the thousand-year-old faith of their forefathers. That is monstrous.
'In Moscow many of my friends and I copied (by hand or typewriter) church texts, explanations, and parables for our children.
'Everything is also done in order that children not participate in the liturgical life of the Church. For instance, children do not have the right to sing in church choirs, although in all countries of the world, during all ages, in all religions, children have sung in choirs during church services.
'often children are forcibly stopped from attending Easter midnight service. I myself had to tear away my five-year-old son from the arms of the 'druzhinniki' (auxiliary police), who pulled him away from me, in order that he should not enter the church.
"Of course, there are many other difficult problems relating to the status of our church. The number of candidates who are accepted into theological seminaries are far below the number of people who want to attend, and this is done in order to deprive the people of their priests by artificial means. Almost all monasteries have been closed, and those priests who have dared to be true 'fathers' to their parishioners have been persecuted and arrested. There is much, much more, which bears witness to the essential facts that the communist regime is engaged in a struggle against God.
'At the present time church statistics are never published, but I will cite a few figures from the previously mentioned Report to the Central Committee and compare them with official church statistics for the year 1907.
"In 1907 there were 51,413 churches in Russia. As of 1975, there were 7,062.
'In 1907, there were 622 monastaries for men and 17,583 monks. As of 1970, there were 6 monastaries for men and 290 monks.
'In 1907 there were 218 monastaries for women and 52,972 nuns. As of 1970, there were 10 monastaries for women and 985 nuns.
"In 1907 there were 20,113 chapels and 19,659 church libraries. Chapels and church libraries are not mentioned in the Report to the Central Committee for the simple reason that now they don't exist anymore in the USSR.
Those are facts provided to us by Mrs. Solzhenitsyn.
Mr. Chairman, the United States would like to call to the special attention of the Third Committee the case of Zoya Krakhmalnikova, a famous literary critic and essayist in the Soviet Union, who was arrested in Moscow on the night of August 3-4 of this year, and taken to Lefortovo Prison. This woman did not participate in anything which may be described as political; she was arrested for engaging in purely religious-educational acitivity.
Rrakhmalnikova had been, since 1976, the editor and compiler of a samizdat Christian reader called Nadezhda, which means 'hope' in Russian. Nadezhda contained texts written by chruch fathers, beginning with the first centuries of Christianity, along with excerpts from the work of famous Orthodox theologians, materials on the Christian tradition in literature, testimony from contemporaries describing their conversion to religion, articles on culture, etc. The writings published in Nadezhda were purely religious, and without political content of any type.
In his appeal issued on the occasion of Zoya Krakhmalnikova's arrest, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe wrote the following:
'In 1978 we blessed the publishing of this collection, which was
During the course of the past six years the authorities had never warned Krakhmalnikova that her work on Nadezhda was illegal or undesirable. Her arrest represents a blantant case of religious persecution.
Such persecution will not snuff out the fire of religious belief. If anything, it will compel people to hold more firmly to their beliefs, which are a source of spiritual sustenance in the dark world of totalitarianism.
Every day on Victory Square in Warsaw the people come to lay flowers in the form of a giant cross, and every night the authorities sweep it away. Every day and every night this ritual is repeated the people demonstrating in the light of the day their undying faith, and the regime, furtively and in the dark of night, trying unsuccessfully to erase the symbol of their belief.
It will not work, Mr. Chairman -- not in Poland nor in the Soviet Union nor in any country where the authorities seek to destroy the human soul for the greater glory of the State. The human soul will endure, Mr. Chairman. Indeed, it will prevail.
STATEMENT BY CARL GERSHMAN, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE,
THE THIRD COMMITTEE, IN RIGHT OF REPLY TO THE SOVIET UNION, ON ITEM 84, RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE, NOVEMBER 26, 1982
Mr. Chairman, the Soviet delegate earlier this morning responded to our very factual statement on religious intolerance with a number of characteristically groundless statements and accusations. His accusations, including the charge that athiests are discriminated in the United States, are ludicrous. Far more serious was his ad hominum attack on Senator Rasten. I do not think it is appropriate, Mr. Chairman, for delegates to speak about other representatives in a personally insulting manner. We can disagree with each other, but it is unbecoming for any delegate and harmful to our ability to conduct a serious debate if delegates resort to ad hominum attacks. The Soviet delegate said that there is no religious intolerance in the Soviet Union. But this is without basis in fact, as we demonstrated at great length in our statement and in the letter we read from Mrs. Solzhenitsyn. In fact, studies of repression in the Soviet Union show that the single most persecuted group of Soviet citizens are religious believers. Approximately half of the prisoners of conscience whose names are known to us and who are now confined in prisons, labor camps or psychiatric prison hospitals are religious believers. Foremost among these are the Baptists. Over the past three years, persecution of the Baptists has intensified In the summer of 1979, 34 were arrested; in the summer of 1980, 65; in the summer of 1981, 106. In the summer just past, 160 Baptists were arrested. In noting some of those who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs, this delegation has already mentioned the name of zola Krakhmalnikova, who published at the Journal Nadezhda. I would also like to mention the Pentecostal Bishop Nikolai Goretoy, who is now 60 years old and who was sentenced in 1980 to 7 years at hard labor. Goretoy is almost completely blind.
I should make special mention of the case of the Reverend Vladimir Shelkov, who for many years led the Adventist church in the USSR and spent 25 years in prison for religious activities. In his last years, he lived in seclusion, writing sermons and prayers, but in March 1979 he was tried on charges that while living in a basement room without electricity, he somehow managed to forge Soviet passports. Forging passport by candlelight must have been quite a feat for an 83 year old man, but he was convicted and sentenced to five years at hard labor. He served only five months of the sentence, dying in prison in Siberia in January 1980 age of 84.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
3 9015 01047 9247
I mentioned Kim Fridman who taught Jewish history and
The Soviet delegate said that there was no anti-semitism in the Soviet Union. However, the basic thrust of Soviet anti-semitism is that Judaism is a religion that "teaches thievery, betrayal, and perfidy," along with "poisonous hatred of all peoples." These quotes are from a book called "Judaism and Zionism", whose author, one Trifum Kichko was awarded a certificate of honor in the Soviet Union.