What Soviet Anti-Semitism Looks Like Now

The poster shows a caricatured Israeli soldier marching over the bodies of dead and mutilated Lebanese. In one hand, the soldier carries a bloody axe; in the other, he waves an American-made missile. Walking alongside him, with an arm draped around the soldier’s shoulder, is a spectral Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s arm is raised in a salute. The two figures together form a swastika.

The 1982 poster is part of an exhibit of anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda covering the years from 1982 to the present. The largest part of the exhibit, which former Soviet refusenik Evgeny Lein collected piece by piece from Leningrad bookstores, was brought to the United States by Marian Scheuer Sofaer, a Washington attorney.

Sofaer contacted others upon her return to the US and began work on the exhibit. Since then, the exhibit has been shown at the Parsons School of Design in New York City and in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington.

While the bulk of the material in the exhibit is from the years 1982 to 1987 (entitled “Before the Thaw”), some of the most disturbing is from 1990, according to Dr. Yana Feith, compiler of the most recent material.

“Through 1987, there was an intense [anti-Western and anti-Semitic] propaganda effort!’ says Feith, a physician by training. “Now we are seeing the reflection of that barrage in the grassroots movements, in the political institutions, and in the intellec-tualized part of Soviet society!” Feith points for illustration to another picture in the exhibit. This one depicts ape-like, skull-capped figures gloating over ruined churches, barbed wire and drowned bodies. The figures are shielded by an umbrella inscribed with the names of ostensibly pro-Western organizations. The scene, suffused in blood-red, appeared in a January 1990 issue of Molodaya Gvardia, the magazine of Komsomol, which is a part of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth Organization. The magazine, says Feith, has a circulation of 650,000.

The combination of anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda in one exhibit is an especially meaningful one, according to Sofaer. “We felt non-Jews could relate, could understand the anti-Semitism when they saw it in context of the anti-Americanism!”

The exhibit of anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda is available for travel. For further information, contact Marian Scheuer Sofaer at 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW #400, Washington, D.C. 20016, (202)895-1666, or call Dr. Yana Feith at (301)320-2476.