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

Prcsidcnt of the Jntcrnational Ladics· Garmenl Workcrs' Union, it was reported:· The fact thai Erlich and Alter were alre.1.dy dead was rcvealed only in reply 10 a tclcgraphic appeal made by 1he Amcrican 'Federation of Labour, the American Congress of Industriai Organisations, and a number of other great workers• organisations and prominent persons. Il is apparcnt now that many of those appeals werc made on behalf of men who were already dcad. The Soviet Govcrnment decidcd to reveal 1he truth about their execution at the momcnt ehoscn by thcm as thc most convenicnt. Thcy probably 1hought 1ha1at a time when the Soviet Armies werc victoriously advancing no one would dare protesi. Similarly their arresi for tbc sccond time coincided with a period in which the Soviet armics were advancing. Thcir rclcaSt, be il noted, v.-asordcred at a time v.-hcnRussia 11·11.s in deadly dangcr. Despite the great admiration which every true Democrat hasfor tbc gallant Soviet Armics, and because ali true democrats are an;,;ious to sce the establishmenl of good rclations betwccn ali tbc United Nations, the news of the execution of Erlich and Alter has caused a grcat wave of protest 10 swccp ovcr 1he dcmocratic world. Public opirùon. after its lìrst stupefaction. was thcn ovcrcomc by indignation which arosc throughout the wholc American democra1ic Press. The first to protesi wcre the American Socialists and Trade Unionisls. A Committcc of 250 reprcsentativcs of the American Labour Movement, headed by David Dubinsky, Presidcnt of tbc lnternational Ladies' Garment \Vorkers· Union, and suppon~-d by the America□ Federation of Labour and tbc C.1.0. issued astatemcnt which read. "\Ve reject categorically the absurd and nonsensical accusation that Alter and Erlich were supposed to advocate a separate peace with Gcrmany. The attempt IO slander those two martyrs, which aims at throwi~g a shadow on thei~ faithfulness 10 the ideals of progress and huma111tyisshamelcssandv1le." The Comminee organiscd, on March 30th, 1943, at the Mecca Tempie in New York, a great memoria! meeting to p:1y tributc 10 Al1er and Erlich, and to protesi against 1heir execution. The meeting was ancnded by 3,500 Trade Union dclegates. Such outspoken anti-Hit!erites as La Guardia, thc Mayor of New York, William Green, President of 1he Amcrican Fedcration of Labour, and othcr represeniatives of the Labour Mo,·ement and of liberal thought were thc speakers at this meeting. This is what 1he London Times, of Aprii 1st, 1943, reported about thismccting: ·· Among the speakers werc the Mayor, Mr. La Guardia, who compared thc cxecutions of Erlich and Alter with thosc of Saccho and Vanietti, and Mr. William Grecn. President of the Ameriean Fedcration of Labour. Some of the speakers characterised the charges against the men as cynical fabrications. Howevcr, severa! speakers reaffirmed lhc dctermination of Amcrican Labour and thc American people IO aid Soviet Russia to the utmost in the war." The meeting of 3,500 delegates of Trade Unions at Mecca Tempie, New York. adopted the following resolution : "\Ve, 3,500 delegates and members of labour unions and fraterna! organisations, express our indignation and protesi against the execution " Biblioteca Gino Bianco