«Bund» of Poland - The case of Henryk Erlich and Victor Alter

They were thc recognised and rcspcctcd represcntati\·es of the Jewish pcople-whose lot they shared and whose lire and future they had dose to theirhearts. They actually fought at ali times for collaboration between the Republic of Poland \nd Soviet Russia. What could havc been the motive for the allegcd crime of Erlich and Alter? What possible motive could there be for thesc two prominent anti-Hitterites and internationally known Jewish Labour leaders IO IJcommit the crime or advocating a separate pcacc with Hitler. The idea is ridiculous. No ooecan be surc as )'Cl ofthe real reasons for this execution. Perhaps they were the victims of Communist hatrcd against Socialists, in which case the accusation against Alter and Erlich is dircctcd against the whole international Socialist Movement. But this is only hypothesis, bccause no one can posscss tangible proof or the real but mysterious motives fabricatcd in the unfathomable darkness of Soviet justice. In any caseil musi bi.-emphasised that no proor v,hatsoe,·er has been put forward by the So,·iel authorities lo substantiatc t!K?ir absurd aceusations and jus1ifytheshamefulex«:utio11ofErlichandAlter. On the other hand, there is ampie evidence to lead us to the convietion that the Soviet authorities never had any intention of releasing Erlich and Alter entirely, orof allowing them to leavc Russia. In pursuance of the Soviet-Polish Pact thousands of Polish citizens were at that period being relcased from Soviet prisons and camps. Each one of them re«ived from the Soviet authorities an officiai document concerning their release. The only two Polish citizens who were not given such documents after their release were Erlich and Alter. There must bave been some reason for such a pointed omission. Evcn before all tbc documents about Erlich and Alter had been publishcd, everyone who had known them and their activities had been deeply shaken and indignant o,·er their fìrst arrcst, although it 100k piace at the beginning or the war ; at a time when Soviet Russia was not one of the United Na1ions fìghting Hitler. How much more indignant did everyone feci after their re-arrcst, which took piace at a time when tbe Soviet Union had joincd forces with the Unitcd Nations and every fighter against Hitler was needed for the common cause. Therefore, it is not surprising that the entire Labour Movement of 1he United States except the Communists, the Labour Movement of Great Britain and innumerable prominent men of science and letters, and in the democratic movement, raiscd their voices time and again demanding their release. lnnumerable appcals were sent to the Soviet Government by Labour organisations and outstanding individua\s both in 1he United States and in this country, but no rcply was vouchsarcd by the Soviet Governmcnt to any of them. The .. New York Post," or March 4th, 1943, reported: .. Wcndcll Willkie pcrsonally askcd Joseph Stalin in Moscow to release from a Soviet prison Victor Alter and Henryk Erlich, Jewish Socialìst leaders of Poland, who at that time had already been secretly executcd by the Rcds.... Willkie intercedcd for the two Polish anti-Nazi union leaders at the request or Amcrican Labor leadcrs, including Philip Murray, C.1.0. President, William Green, A.F.L. head, and David Dubinsky, 22 Biblioteca Gino Bianco