Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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party line. Each issue carries the date when it was app roved fo r
publication, which is a euphem ism fo r the stamp o f the censor.4
Sovetish Heimland
is the only Jewish literary monthly publication
in the Soviet Union, and it serves as the sole p la tform fo r the
publication o f Yiddish works. Each mon th the jo u rn a l publishes
stories, novels, poems, repo rtage , criticism, and polemics. In ed i­
torials, letters, reviews and special articles th e jo u rn a l criticizes the
policies o f Israel, attacks Zionism, and generally expresses the
official governmen t po in t o f view in relation to Israel. I t carries on
a campaign against those Jews who chose to leave the Soviet
Union, and prints statements by those who are supposedly sorry
fo r leaving the homeland and long to re tu rn . T h e ed itor also
publishes articles which re itera te Lenin’s view tha t the best solu­
tion to the Jewish problem is assimilation, assuring his readers
tha t in the Soviet Union the Jews have the grea test oppo rtun ity to
assimilate. But it seems tha t some o f the anti-Zionist publications
in the Soviet Union — which are really anti-Semitic — have
aroused even the editor, and in a few articles some anti-Jewish
books have been mildly criticized.
T he editor-in-chief o f
Sovetish Heimland
is A aron Vergelis, born
in 1918 and hence a p roduc t o f the Soviet system, with no p e r ­
sonal pre-revolutionary memories. He was educated in Soviet
Yiddish schools and for a time lived in Biro-Bidjan. During the
War he served in the army on various fronts. A poet and a
polemicist, he is one o f the writers who managed to survive the
Stalin purges o f 1948-1952. In his articles abou t literary p rob ­
lems he displays a keen knowledge o f Yiddish literature , and an
awareness, even if slanted, o f what is going on in the Yiddish
literary world outside the Soviet Union.
Sovetish Heimland
publishes only those works tha t are in h a r ­
mony with the official a ttitude toward literature . One can not
expect Soviet Yiddish litera tu re to produce non-conform ist writ­
ers. Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian writers, too, suffered
d u r ing the Stalinist te rro r . But not all Russian, Ukrainian o r
Byelorussian writers were arrested , exiled, o r executed as were
the Yiddish writers. Nearly all the writers who con tribute now to
4 This official statement is missing in the December 1978 issue.