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May 21, 1971 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1971-05-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Genesee Prosecuting Attorney
Indicts Soviet Treatment of Jews

(Continued from Page 1)
He also touched on the awaken-
ing of Judaism among the young,
witness the increase in the teach-
ing of Jewish history and customs,
as well as Hebrew—"the basis for
which the Jews were subsequently
arrested," Leonard said.
Zand indicated that the Jewish
intellectual community, while ap-
proving of protest, frowns on Jew-
ish Defense League tactics that
answer "the barbarism of the So-
viet Union . . . with more barbar-
ism." The scholar said, however,
that the best possible protest is
that coming from labor unions,
civil rights groups and intellectuals.
"Repeatedly, he (Zand) said that
the position of these groups and
organizations should be broadcast
into the Soviet Union so that the
Jews, the non-Jewish intellectuals
and the Soviet government would
be aware of it," Leonard said.
Zand stated that there was a
"very real upheaval in the intel-
lectual community of the Soviet
Union concerning the plight of
the Jews and that the Jewish in-
tellectuals were now being joined
by the non-Jewish intellectuals
in the pr otests in the Soviet
Union."
Throughout their travels, Leon-
ard and Gold made waves within
Soviet government circles. Again
and again they dodged secret po-
lice and Intourist tails, used vari-
ous strategems to interview Jews
in bugged rooms, sought to meet
with high officials despite countless
rebuffs.
Through sheer hutzpa and no
small measure of persistence, the
two men did manage to see a num-
ber of officials. And where they
didn't get in, they left their mes-
sage loud and clear. Soviet authori-
ties were made to understand that
their efforts to isolate the Jews
had not succeeded. There are ways
to learn the truth.
Obviously, Leonard's offer to act
as defense attorney for the impris-
oned Jews has met with silence.
On Monday, the authorities are ex-
pected to open the trial in Riga of
among others, young Ruth Alek-
sandrovich. The two Americans
spoke with Ruth's mother before

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the older woman was allowed to
emigrate.
It is impossible to gauge the to-
tal effectiveness of their mission,
but Leonard points out that for the
first time, several Soviet officials
were willing to discuss Soviet
Jewry. While the two men were
there, several parties of Jews were
allowed to emigrate, and two of
25 imprisoned Jews were released.
The American Conference on So-
viet Jewry, which helped arrange
Leonard's trip, does not minimize
the importance of the several en-
counters with Soviet officials.
The Leonard-Gold report is filled
with anecdotes that illustrate the
undying will of Soviet Jewry. One
in particular is Leonard's favorite:
He tells of the young guide who
playfully termed the two men
"troublemakers." Gold said 'to
her, "You're Jewish aren't you?"
She denied it, but acknowledged
that her parents were . . . and
her husband was.
As Leonard, Gold and Gold's
wife Ronnie were taking their
leave, "the two women hugged
each other and said shalom," Leon-
ard recalls. " 'You see,' Gene said,
`one Jew always knows another
Jew.' Our guide responded quietly,
`One good Jew always knows an-
other Jew.' "
In their report to the District
Attorneys Association, the two men
came up with these specific con-
clusions about the treatment of im-
prisoned Soviet Jews:
• There is flagrant violation of
the Soviet Constitution and Soviet
law which specifically guarantees
a trial within nine months from the
time of arrest. Many Soviet Jews
have been imprisoned without a
trial for more than nine months.
• In city after city, Soviet Jews
are imprisoned and held incommu-
nicado despite repeated attempts
by their families to see them.
• There is a strong indication
that these Soviet Jews being held
for trial will be tried in secret
proceedings.
• In most cases, there has been
a clear interference, through sub-
tle threats and intimidations, with
the prisoners' rights to obtain law-
yers of their own choice.
• In those few instances where
families were able to get law-
yers, there are clear indications
that indirect pressures forced at-
torneys to withdraw from the
cases.
• There has been a systematic
refusal to inform the families and
presumably, the prisoners them-
selves, of the exact charges against
the Soviet Jews. Such refusal has
made it impossible to prepare a
defense.
• The families were led to be-
lieve, and Soviet officials confirmed
to us privately, that char g e s
against the Soviet Jews consist of
anti-Soviet propaganda and anti-
Soviet activity based on:
Teaching the Hebrew language
Printing Hebrew materials
Printing a newspaper known as
"Iton," which concerns itself in
part with Jewish history, culture
and heritage, and the desire of So-
viet Jews to emigrate to Israel.
Teaching Jewish history
Teaching Jewish heritage
Printing excerpts from a book
called "The Aggressor," written_ •
by a Czechoslovakian Commu-
nist writer, Ladislas Mniacko,
which depicts Israel as the non-
aggressor in the 1967 Six-Day
War.

It must be said that not one of
these activities violates any speci-
fic Soviet Law.
• There is an obvious design to
try the cases of these Jewish pris-
oners in the Soviet Supreme Court
where the defendants will have no
right of appeal under Soviet law.
• Curiously, under Soviet law,
as guaranteed in the Soviet Con-
stitution, all Soviet national groups,
such as the Ukrainians and the Lat-
vians, are permitted, and in fact,
do learn in school their own lan-
guage, culture, history and litera-
ture. Only Soviet Jews are prohi-
bited from these legally recognized
and encouraged activities.



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