12.6 Letters from Soviet Jews

No 12 : 28 February 1970

[1]

Boris Shlayen and Ilya Fridlyand — open letter addressed to the authors of the letters published in Pravda on 13 January 1970 under the general title “Unmasking the Provocateurs”.

The authors of the letter state that in the USSR “there are many Jewish families who not only wish to emigrate to Israel, but who have also been petitioning for this unsuccessfully for a long time.

“The desire to return to one’s historical homeland is as natural a feeling for Jews as it is for any other nationality.” The authors write of themselves: “We have applied repeatedly to the visa and registration department about emigration to Israel, but we have been refused every-time.”

[2]

V. Prussakov — appeal addressed to A.N. Kosygin, the UN Commission on Human Rights and the World Jewish Agency.

The author tells of the persecution he has suffered since 1964, [see 1.7] (searches, expulsion from his institute, being shadowed, driven from his work and arrested). The pretexts for his arrest were two stories about anti-Semitism and also the participation of the author in “nationalistic gatherings”) The author is at present trying to obtain permission to emigrate to Israel. “When I received an official invitation from Israel, I was summoned to the KGB and told: ‘We won’t let you out. … Your place is behind barbed wire.

“My letter is a cry of despair and at the same time a plea for help, although I do not know who can help me, nor how. But I can be silent no longer.”

[3] “To the world Jewish community”; [4] “To the UN General Secretary, U Thant. To the President of the XXIV Session of the General Assembly, Mrs. Angie Brooks; [5] “To the authors of the article ‘Who is calling the tune for the Zionists?’ (Izvestiya, 14 December 1969).”

Three more open letters, written by Soviet Jews who regard Israel as their historical homeland, are endeavouring to get there and are protesting against their enforced detention in the USSR. All three letters are collectively signed: by Vitaly Svechinsky, Mark Elbaum, Tina Brodetskaya, Lev Freidlin, Blyuma Diskina and many others.