Monday, October 13, 1952
Senator SMITH. I think I understand you,
whether you understand me or not. That will be all.
Mr. MORRIS. The next witness is Sara Riedman.
Senator SMITH. Will you solemnly swear the
testimony you are about to give in this hearing before a subcommittee
of the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate shall be the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I do.
TESTIMONY OF SARA RIEDMAN,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., ACCOMPANIED BY
COUNSEL, CAMMER & SHAPIRO, NEW YORK, N. Y.
Mr. MORRIS. Give your full name and address.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Sara Riedman, 1066 Park Place,
Mr. MORRIS. Do you teach in Brooklyn College?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. MORRIS. What do you teach?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Biology.
Mr. MORRIS. How long have you been teaching in
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Since 1930.
Mr. MORRIS. Mrs. Riedman, have you been the
head of a Communist unit at Brooklyn College?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I must decline to answer that
question because I feel that it is improper for this committee to
inquire into my beliefs--
Mr. MORRIS. It is whether you are the head of
a unit of Communist school teachers operating in Brooklyn College.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. My beliefs or my opinions or my
associations. I believe that according to the first amendment of our
Constitution these matters are a matter of privacy. And, that this
committee, or any other group, has no right to ask this question.
Senator FERGUSON. The same thing would apply,
would it not, Doctor, to whether or not you were a member of the
faculty of that school! That would be your association, but you answer
the one and not the other. Why?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. My being a member of the faculty
at Brooklyn College is a matter of employment. It is a matter of public
Senator FERGUSON. Could not the membership in
this Communist cell be a question of employment also?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I don't see how that applies at
Senator FERGUSON. You do not?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. No.
Senator FERGUSON. You do not think the people
work, then, for the Communist Party?
Mr. RIEDMAN. I don't see that this has
anything to do with my beliefs.
Senator FERGUSON. I am asking you the
question, Do you know whether or not people do work for the Communist
Mrs. RIEDMAN. When you asked me the question
of whether I belonged to the Communist Party, you are asking me what my
Senator FERGUSON. That was not the question.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you the head of a unit, a
Communist mut, composed of Communist school teachers operating in
Brooklyn College? It is an organizational matter.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. It is the same as asking are you
a member of the Democratic or Republican Party. This doesn't indicate
employment by the parties. It is simply the question of asking about my
Senator FERGUSON. Mr. Chairman, that is not a
reason for not answering the question.
Senator SMITH. The chairman is going to direct
you to answer the questions, and then we will go on from there.
Will you state the question again, and we will
direct, her to answer.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you been in the past, the
head of a unit made up of Communist school teachers operating in
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I have already indicated that I
consider that an improper question and an invasion of my rights as an
Mr. MORRIS. The chairman has directed that you
answer the question.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Under the circumstances, in view
of the present hysteria and of malicious accusations, the real
possibility, and in form being an honored profession, I must take
recourse to my rights under the fifth amendment in not answering that
Senator SMITH. That is to say an answer to
such question might tend to incriminate you.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I am not saying it will tend to
Senator SMITH. If you have not, we direct you
to answer the question if you say it will not tend to incriminate you.
The chairman doesn't want you to say or do a thing that is contrary to
your constitutional rights but I want the record right. If you say it
will tend to incriminate you, the Chair will rule that you don't have
to answer the question.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. What I would like to see in the
record is that this does not imply guilt. It might tend, but it does not
Senator SMITH. That would depend on different
persons. Some might think it did and some might think it didn't. The
Chair realizes that. But I do want to get into this record your reason
for refusing to testify.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. This and the others that I have
Senator SMITH. I know you understand the
difference in your refusing. If it will do that, then I will say that
you have the right to not answer the question.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Yes; I do.
Senator FERGUSON. On that basis?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. On that basis, and in addition
the other reasons I have given.
Senator SMITH. Anything else that you have
said, that is something I have no objection to.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you been a member of the
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I decline to answer for the same
Mr. MORRIS Are you presently a. member of the
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I similarly decline to answer
for the reasons given.
Mr. MORRIS. As previously described?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Yes.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you ever had a book which was
published by the Young World Books International Publishers?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. MORRIS. Is International Publishers a
Communist publication house?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I decline to answer.
Senator FERGUSON. On what grounds?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. On the same grounds.
Mr. MORRIS. That your answer will incriminate
Mr. CAMMER. Not "will," but `"will tend to."
Mr. MORRIS. Have you been associated with an
organization called the Artists Front To Win the War?
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I don't recall such
organization, but I would like to point out that this is the type of
accusation and statement that I feel I have to protect myself against.
Senator SMITH. Has anybody accused you? Nobody
on this committee has accused you.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. Not on this committee, but may I
make the statement?
Senator SMLTH. Yes.
Mrs. RIEDMAN. The first time that I saw that
name indicated was in a letter sent to me by Rabbi Schultz, in which he
said, "You were on such and such a date a member of this organization."
I don't happen to remember but anyone in the present period of hysteria
can make such a statement on the basis of that and make further
accusations. This is an instance of why I am answering the way I do.
Senator SMITH. You mean you are not attempting
to accuse Rabbi Schultz, are. you, of anything improper in whatever he
Mrs. RIEDMAN. I am giving this as an
illustration. I don't happen to remember about that particular
organization which he says I was a member of.
Mr. MORRIS. I have no more questions.
Senator SMITH. All right.
Mr. MORRIS. Melba Phillips.
Senator SMITH. Do you solemnly swear the
testimony you are about to give in this hearing being conducted by a
subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate
shall be. the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so
help you God?
Miss PHILLIPS. I do.