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PASTOR NIEMOELLER'S WORDS
Something the Rev. Dr. Martin Niemoeller said in 1945 is an important reminder to us as we hear about the denial of rights to any group, no matter how removed they might seem to be from you and me. Having been thrown into the Dachau concentration camp by the Nazis, he spoke with conviction when he said: "In Germany the Nazis came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak up because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up because I was a Protestant. And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up for me."
Reverend MCCLELLAN. This last quotation strikes a little note of self-interest, I suppose. I am here, however, because of a common belief of all the major religions in the precious nature of human personality. Thank you.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Thank you very much. That is a very moving statement. It is one of the shortest statements we have had and, perhaps, the most meaningful.
Mr. TAYLOR. I would like to commend Reverend McClellan on a very fine statement. It certainly gives us a good definition of religious freedom.
Reverend MCCLELLAN. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Are there any other thoughts that you have of what the church community can do in the United States to show its interest in this matter?
Reverend MCCLELLAN. I have gone to my Jewish associates and made myself available to them in any way that I could be useful. I suspect that most of us in the Christian church leadership group are waiting for signals and I was doing so. Then it dawned on me that this is a strange attitude. I took the initiative, and the response has taught me something that I shall pass on to other pastors.
I would hope that pastors would make their people aware of the fact that not only do we all have a stake in this, as Dr. Niemoeller has indicated, but that also an initiative of love is both incumbent upon neighbors in a thing like this and essential to the concept of Christian love. So I think it is time for the church, which has been waiting for signals, to act on its own signals.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. On that very poignant and traditional American note, we shall adjourn. Again my thanks to you for taking time out from a very busy schedule to appear before this subcommittee on a matter that we consider of great urgency.
Thank you again.
The subcommittee stands adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 3:40 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.)
STATEMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
STATEMENT OF HON. BELLA S. ABZUG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
My testimony before this subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a natural consequence of a lifetime of involvement in the fight for human rights for all people. As a Congresswoman representing a district which in its diversity is a microcosm of New York, I am daily called upon to defend the human rights of a multiethnic constituency. As the only Jewish Congresswoman in the House, I am particularly sensitive to the serious problems facing the third largest Jewish community in the world-the 3 million Jews in the Soviet Union.
For Jews who have chosen to assimilate, there have been relatively few problems of employment and educational opportunities. But for Jews who seek to identify and live as Jews, with unrestrained access to Jewish language and Hebrew language cultural, religious and educational institutions, insurmountable obstacles have been placed in their way.
In the first three decades of the Soviet regime, the state supported a wide network of cultural and educational institutions and activities for Jews in Yiddish. Today, these institutions have, for the most part, been dismantled. Only occasionally are Yiddish books published; a Yiddish literary magazine, Sovietish Heimland, appears monthly, and much of its edition of 16,000 is for export.
LEGAL RIGHTS FLOUTED
Soviet legal prohibitions on discrimination against religious, na tional and social groups are being flouted. The courageous assertion of Jewish consciousness by Soviet Jews continues to represent a remarkable phenomenon and is evidenced by the tens of thousands of young Jews who gather to sing and dance outside of the synagogues in various cities on Simhath Torah and other festivals.
Although ideologically the Soviet Government is committed to atheism, formally it allows for freedom of religious worship. However, unlike other recognized religious bodies, Judaism is not permitted any central or coordinating structure, and publication of prayer books and Bibles is limited.
Jews who have sought to leave for Israel or to rejoin broken or scattered families elsewhere have encountered difficulty, harassment, and imprisonment. It should be noted, however, that the Soviet Union has shown increasing evidence of its sensitivity to world opinion by easing some emigration restrictions.
During my visit to Israel recently, I was informed by Government officials at an Absorption Center which provides temporary homes and
training facilities for immigrants, that the number of Soviet Jews migrating to Israel has been stepped up to 1,000 per month. The expectation was that 12,000 a year would be coming from the Soviet Union, about 10,000 from the United States, with most of the others coming from Canada and Latin America.
Despite the apparent relaxation of immigration barriers by the Soviet Government, many more Jews are waiting to be granted exit visas. Some are in prison or labor camps. A particularly tragic case is that of Silva Zalmanson, a young Jewish woman serving a 10-year sentence in a labor camp for allegedly participating in a plot to hijack a Russian plane. Mrs. Zalmanson is reportedly seriously ill with tuberculosis.
I have called on the Soviet Government to show compassion in this case by immediately releasing this young woman and allowing her to emigrate to Israel, as appears to be her wish.
There remain, of course, millions of Soviet Jews who for many reasons will choose to stay in the Soviet Union. I feel a keen sense of responsibility to them as well. I therefore join my colleagues in urging the Government of the U.S.S.R. to permit its Jewish citizens the right to live as Jews and to preserve their cultural and religious heritages, or to leave for Israel or for any other country to which they wish to emigrate.
I welcome the announcement by Attorney General Mitchell several weeks ago that he intends to use his parole authority to admit as many Jews from the Soviet Union as are able to obtain exit visas and who wish to come here.
I would also like to direct the attention of this body to the very serious plight of thousands of Jews in Syria who face constant harassment and imprisonment just for being Jews. Twelve Jews were recently arrested for attempting to flee the country. Reports from Jews who have managed to escape to Israel have contained gruesome tales of torture, midnight raids upon Jewish homes, and the virtual house arrest of the Syrian Jewish population. I would hope that our Government would speak out in their behalf and help them to seek refuge elsewhere.
My concern for the rights of Jews everywhere, in the Soviet Union, in Syria, in the United States, wherever they may live, requires me to condemn the terroristic acts of the Jewish Defense League, which is neither Jewish in its ethics nor anything but provocative in its actions. The JDL's demagogic misleader proves daily that he is less concerned with the plight of Soviet Jewry than he is with his oft stated attempt to rupture the détente that exists between our country and the U.S.S.R. His encouragement of terroristic and violent acts has been a disservice both to the Jews in the Soviet Union and to the peace of the world. I am heartened by the fact that his group has been repudiated by every important leader and organization in the Jewish community, as well as by Premier Golda Meir and Ambassador Abba Eban of the State of Israel.
In conclusion, I join with the millions of people dedicated to human rights who are urging that Soviet Jews be granted all of the rights of full Soviet citizenship and be permitted the right to live as Jews or to emigrate.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK J. BRASCO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
THE VOICE THAT CANNOT BE STILLED
Mr. Chairman, I am most grateful for the opportunity to testify before you today on behalf of legislation I have joined in sponsoring. It of course has to do with treatment by the Soviet Union of its Jewish minority, which has roused concern across the world. It is more than fitting for us to come together here today to discuss means the American Government has at hand which it can use to alleviate the situation. Let us commence by stating one basic premise. The Soviet Union is an antisemitic regime, carrying on with persistence and stubbornness the same Jew-baiting policies the entire world constantly condemned the Romanoff czars for perpetrating. Only the names and methods are slightly different.
In the old days before the Bolsheviks took over Russia, there were organized pogroms against the Jews, mainly instigated by agent provocateurs in the pay of the government. Jews were an easily identifiable target against whom the rage of an oppressed peasantry could be focused. This was done with results that again and again appalled the civilized world. Practically every town in European Russia was witness to one or another organized assault against these helpless, persecuted people.
In some pogroms, the Jews came off easily. In others, thousands of then perished, such as in Kishinev. In response, many of the young, bright Jewish youth joined organizations that were committed to the destruction of the Romanoff's. Others emigrated to America and other free lands in seach of elementary human freedoms. Thank heaven they did find them here.
Unfortunately, 32 million of their brothers and sisters remained behind in Russia, to fall under the rule of the new czars, the Communist Party we know today. Although officially devoted to full equality for all Soviet citizens, we know through ample evidence and actions that such is not the case where Jews are concerned.
Only Russian Jews have special marks on their official papers identifying them as such. National groups numbering far less than the Jews receive formal recognition of their language and culture by the allowance of special programs and publications in those languages. Even the Volga Germans, who were imprisoned as a group during World War II, are presently accorded such recognition. Only the Jews are