PAGE 61
HOME | GUIDE | BACK | NEXT
Jews in the Soviet Union: 1941 to present

The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee


Itzik Feffer and Solomon Mikhoels...



Solomon Mikhoels...



Members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee...



The novelist and poet Peretz Markish...



Upon the request of the
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee...



The writer Ilya Ehrenburg...


IN THE CAMPAIGN TO MOBILIZE all resources for the war, the Soviet authorities in April 1942 allow the establishment of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Its aim is to organize political and material support for the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany from the Jewish communities in the West. Solomon Mikhoels, the popular actor and director of the Moscow Jewish State Theater, is appointed chairman, and many well-known Soviet Jews participate in the Committee's activities. Since the dissolution of the Yevsektsii in 1930, the J.A.C. is the first specifically Jewish body in the Soviet Union. It has its own newspaper in Yiddish, Eynikeyt (Unity), in which contributions from the most popular Yiddish writers appear.

In 1943 Solomon Mikhoels and the writer Itzik Feffer embark on a seven-month official tour to the USA, Mexico, Canada and Great Britain. They are received everywhere with great enthusiasm: for a long time, no official contact with one of the largest Jewish communities of the world had been possible. Especially in the United States, where many Jews have not forgotten their ties with Russia, the tour is a great success, and many millions of dollars are raised for the Russian war effort.

The J.A.C. becomes the focal point of a national awakening for Soviet Jewry at a time when its very survival is in danger. Many Jews turn to the J.A.C. with requests for help, among them survivors from the Nazi camps who find their houses occupied upon their return.

The contacts with American-Jewish organizations result in the plan to publish a Black Book simultaneously in the USA and the Soviet Union, documenting the anti-Jewish crimes of the Nazis and the Jewish part in the fighting and resistance.

In 1944, the writer Ilya Ehrenburg sends a collection of letters, diaries, photos and witness accounts to the USA to be used in the book. The Black Book is published in New York in 1946. But no Russian edition appears. The typefaces are finally broken up in the printing press in 1948, a year in which the situation of Soviet Jews has once more deteriorated sharply.



home next back