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

dangcr ofundcrestima1ing Hitler.... Those who could bclie\'CLeon Blum and Leon Jouhaux guilty or similar charges might feci thai Erlich and Alter were guihy of the charges lcvelledagainst them. Those who would brand any such accusation a monstrous falsehood if brought against Blum and Jouhaux musi also reject 1hc suggestion that Erlich and Alter could have bcen guilty:· And the pro-Soviet ·· P.M. Daily Picture Magazine·· wrote on March 18th in an editoria! commcnt to the ncws givcn in the same issue in four columns: ·· lfthere are fac1sthat American Labor does not know, and that prove the Soviet charges in the tribuna! of the international consdencc, let us have 1hem, But un1il thcy are revcalcd, il would be fcarfully difficult lo bclieve that two men who were at once labor leaders and Socialists, and Poles and Jcws, and whosc carecrs showcd their integrity, coutd have had traffic with thc Nazi enemy. . On the known facts a tragic injusticc has bcen done.. " The dcmocratic wcekly, ·· The Nation," March 13th, 1943,wrotc: ·· The record of these men provides the strongest possible refutation of the charges of anti-war activity on which they wci:ccondemned by a Soviet eourt,manial. Thcy were not Socialistsof a pac,fist stripe. On the contrary, they helped organisc the valiant resis1ance10 the Naz.isof the workcrs of Warsaw. . . The act or 1he Russian military authorities has outraged opinion in other countries, especially among Socialist and Jewish workers, who werc slowly coming to realise the need of closer ties with their fellow-workcrs in Russia. And in reactionary circles,whcre the fate of two labor men would ordinarily be a mattcr of vast unconcern. thc cxecutions are bcing uscd as anothcr instrument agains1 thc unity of Russia and the West. For this the chief rcsponsibility lics wìth the Soviet Govemmcnt. Thc execu1ion of Erlich and Alter was not only bad justice, it was also bad propaganda. Such bchaviour plays directly into the hands or Goebbcls ... .'' Js it truc that wc should ignore this monstrous act becausc ofthe war? ls it not true that just because ofthe war and the ideals for which wc are figh1ingit is our duty to protest against thc injusticc done 10 Erlich and Alter? Some peoplc now say thai 1he wave of protesi which this case caltcd forth in 1hc United States and in this country is doing harm 10 the common cause. In fact, alt true Democra1s feci in it a mora! issue and that it is a mora\ du1y 10 pro1cs1and to shed light upon this unfonunate case in order to pre\·ent the enemics of Democracy from making càpital out ofi1. Thc Labour Movemcnt and all thc genuine dcmocratic elcmcnts ne\·er ccased to demand 1he release of Erlich and Alter because they rcalised that the fact of their bcing kcpt in prison was doing harm to the e!Torts of the democratic forces againsc Hitlcrism and serving reactionary propaganda. lbtre is no doubt thai the whole case of Erlich and Alter is harmful to the cause of demoeracy. Bui the harm has bcen done, not bythose11'hoproli'Sl ■gains1themurderof1"·oinnoeen1people,bu1by 1hose ,..ho murdered lhcm. 25 Bibliotec ...Gino Bianco