The present draft is similar to the published version, except that it does not contain the two stanzas which describe the actual slaughter of the Jews, the cries of the children and old men being shot, and other atrocities.
In February 1963, Yevtushenko traveled to Paris for the publication of the first edition in French of his poetry. French journalists demanded to know if the poet had altered the poem, widely seen in the West as an attack on Russian antisemitism, to please the Soviet government. The poet denied this and claimed he rewrote the part of the poem which charges Russia with antisemitism "in order not to furnish a bludgeon for our enemies." The French pressed Yevtusheno on the status of antisemitism in Russia and he responded that antisemitism "is no more of a problem in Russia than it is in many other countries. Every nation has its fools."
A parallel transcription in Russian of the present manuscript version and the published version of the poem is available from the Books and Manuscripts Department.
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