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August 08, 1975 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-08-08

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

6 Friday, August 8, 1975

Increase in USSR's Visa Tax Hurts Emigration

(Continued from Page 1)

said this was being done by
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of Soviet Jews with their
relations-in Israel and by
treating every application
for exit "in a positive spirit."
He stressed that it could not
mean free emigration for all
Soviet citizens, whether Jew
or non-Jew.
Soviet Jewish activists
said in Moscow, according to
the report, that the fact that
the ovir chief had chosen to
speak to Lerner so quickly
after the Helsinki document
had been signed did not, in
itself, portend a change in
the position of Soviet Jews.
But the activists added that
it did mean that the activist
group is now accepted by
Soviet authorities, even
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be officially acknowledged.

A national conference on
Soviet Jewry will be spon-
sored here in November by
the Board of Deputies.

It also was reported that
the/demonstration last week
in Helsinki by the Interna-
tional Women's Campaign
for Soviet Jewry achieved its
goal of focusing unprece-
dented attention on the
plight of Soviet Jewry, one
of the demonstrators said.
Mrs. Doreen Gainsford,
one of the driving forces in
the campaign for Soviet Je-
wry in Britain, said that the
Russians will now have to
improve the situation of the
Jews in the Soviet Union
and that the one matter that
was certain was that Soviet
Jews would learn of the Hel-
sinki protest and that it
would greatly encourage
them in their struggle.
Nine women, including
Mrs. Gainsford, were ar-
rested near the U.S. Em-
bassy by Finnish police, but
they were treated well and
released without charges, '
she said.

In New York, in a dra-
matic test of the Soviet
Union's . compliance with
the spirit of detente and in-
ternational telecommuni-
cations, a group of well-
known New Yorkers tried
to place calls to Jewish
activists in the USSR. But
only three of the 25 calls
went through.

The event, which was
sponsored by the Greater
New York Conference on
Soviet Jewry, was also
aimed at the meeting be-
tween President Ford and
Soviet Communist Party
Secretary Leonid Brezhnev

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at the European Security
Conference in Helsinki.
Various excuses were
given by Soviet operators
why the calls did not get
through. All of the persons
called were notified in ad-
vance, according to the
GNYCSJ.
In Washington, Rep. Ed-
ward Mezvinsky (D.-Iowa)
and Rep. Elizabeth Holtz-
man (D.-N.Y.) called on
President. Ford to obtain a
firm Soviet commitment on
human rights at the summit
meeting of the European Se-
curity Conference in Hel-
sinki.

In a resolution intro-
duced in the House, the
lawmakers asked the
President to "seek specific
guarantees and commit-
ments for the unhampered
movement of persons, in-
formation and ideas . . .
before signing or other-
wise agreeing to any dec-
laration or other state-
ment of principles
produced by the confer-
ence."

Joining Mezvinsky and
Holtzman in the resolution
and letter to Ford were
Reps. Joshua Eilberg (D.-
Pa.), Hamilton Fish, Jr. (R.-
N.Y.) and Christopher J.
Dodd (D.-Conn.). The five
Representatives — all mem-
bers of the House Judiciary
Committee — recently trav-
eled together to the Soviet
Union to investigate free-
dom of emigration in that
country.
At the same time, a group
of former Soviet Jews now
living in Israel has written
an open letter to President
Ford and to Soviet Com-
munist Party Secretary,
Leonid Brezhnev on behalf
of a Soviet Jewish couple,
Aba Stolyar and Gita Ra-
zovskaya.
The elderly couple_ had
exit visas to Israel and had
boarded the Moscow-Vienna
plane on June 19, 1975,
when Soviet authorities con-
fiscated their visas and for-
cibly turned them back,
claiming that there "had
been a mistake."

peal to the U.S. Senators worker, bought plane tick-
who were in the Soviet ets for himself and his
Union at the time of the ar-
12-year-old son in order to
.rest, it was reported by the fly to Moscow and Lenin-
National Conference on So :- grad on the first day of his
viet Jewry.
vacation, July 2. On July.
On July 2, Roitburd was
1, a KGB agent warned
about to leave Odessa for him not to leave Odessa,
Moscow, when KGB plain- but Roitburd rejected this
clothesmen arrested him on illegal demand and went to
charges of "resisting ar- the airport with his son
rest." In their appeal, issued and his/wife, who saw
in Moscow and released them off.
later by the NCSJ, the activ-
They were not allowed to
ists ask the Senators to pay board the plane. "Right - •
"special attention to this front of his wife and s.
case" and to "take steps
men in civilian dress pulled
pressing your opinion about him by the hair to a local
it as the incident took place militia office," the appeal
during your stay in the stated.
USSR, and was, apparently,
His wife was not allowed
connected with your visit to.come into the office. The
there."
next day she was told by the
The appeal noted that militia that a case had been
Roitburd, an engineer who opened against her husband
has had to work as a metal "for' resisting arrest."

* * *

Soviet Jews' English Contact
Visiting in Detroit This Week

Rae Sharfman and Ida
Joyrich of the Detroit Com-
mittee for Soviet Jewry
hosted English school-
teacher Michael Sherbourne
,earlier this week during his
three-week "holiday" in the
U.S.
Sherbourne has made ap-
proximately 3,500 telephone
calls to Soviet Jews during
the past five years, with the
costs defrayed by volunteer
donations.
He told The Jewish News
that Soviet authorities have
made it more difficult for
outside calls to be put
through, but that he still
makes up to 15 calls per
week.

"I learned Russian 20
years ago, on a bet,!" Sher-
bourne said, "but didn't
use the language until five
years ago when I was
asked to make a call.

"After speaking to one
person, and hearing his joy
at an outside contact, you
might say I was hooked."
Sherbourne coordinates
the information he gains
with the editor of "Jews in
Gita worked on the • th.. USSR," which is pub-
chemistry of natural -fos-
lished in England. He be-
sils at the Scientific Chem-
came friends with Mrs. Joy-
ical Institute. Although
rich and Mrs. Sharfman
she had been on pension
through telephone calls
since 1972, her work has
made world-wide in behalf
of Soviet Jews.
just been declared "clas-
sified."
He said that the pressure
The group of Israelis who
of telephone calls has alle-
sent the appeal took the oc-
viated the persecution of
casion of the European Se-
some activists at times, but
curity Conference to urge
said the morale effect of the
the two world leaders to
calls is their major benefit.
save the Stolyar family "as
Sherbourne said that in
you are at present preparing
recent weeks Soviet offi-
to save millions of people
cials have closed six of the
from the dreadful horrors of
12 telephone lines into
war and despotism."
Moscow, and restricted
In New York, following
the automatic lines. Calls
the arrest of long-term
are taking much longer to
"refusenik," Lev Roitburd, a
place, he said, and calls
group of 16 Soviet Jewish
placed through the postal
activists addressed an ap-
system, where the Soviet

Jew is instructed via tele-
gram to be at the post of-
fice at a certain time to
receive a call, are no
longer going through.

"Activists are no longer
allowed to make collect
calls," he said, "and I have to
arrange to receive some
calls, or make calls, at the
home of friends. Obviously
the KGB (secret police) are
aware of my telephone
number too."

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