WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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We had to make it clear. All of that was anti-Semitism, and it would grow and be reinforced if the Communist Parties outside the countries of the East, the forces of the left, and the anti fascists did not throw their weight into the battle against it. In that way, and only in that way, could we assist the people in the USSR, in Poland, and in Czechoslovakia who were taking a stand against anti-Semitism. I warned anti-fascists everywhere not to compare what was happening in the East with Vietnam. That would be too easy a way to salve our conscience and resign us to doing nothing. Our sincerity and our effectiveness would be judged by our fight against an anti-Semitism that some people believed was nonexistent and that was already being called "leftist anti-Semitism."

I spoke several more times on anti-Semitism in the East. Jewish circles sprang to life, and I sensed in the big halls of Paris as well as in stuffy little suburban meeting rooms how much they appreciated a leftist German woman's aligning herself with the Jews of the USSR. Western communists were denying that many Soviet Jews were eager to emigrate to Israel. I was even to see in Brussels, in February 1971, a delegation of Soviet Jews asserting that there was no Jewish problem in the USSR. It was clear, however, that there was indeed a Jewish problem, and denial of its existence was not enough to suppress it. When the Kremlin is finally pressured into allowing a substantial number of Jews to leave for Israel, I would not like to be in the shoes of those communists who will then have to admit the truth of what they once denied.

I could not be content with lecturing or signing petitions. The situation required more than that. Moreover, the East German party paper, Neues Deutschland, had just taken a definitely conservative anti-Semitic stand by approving the death sentences handed down in Leningrad. If the East Germans were subjected to such eyewash, I would again have to make a public protest against that detestable policy in such a way that they would have to listen to me.

A number of former Nazis had re-entered the field of propaganda in the German Democratic Republic. They did not hold policy-making positions, but they were able to influence policy. The occupation of Czechoslovakia, the persecution of Jews in the USSR, and the cordial relations between East Germany and the Arab nations were giving them a chance to speak out.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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