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October 08, 1976 - Image 48

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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-10-08

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48 Friday, October 8, 1976

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Fictional and Historical Analyses of the USSR and Soviet Jewry

By ALAN HITSKY

A number of volumes of
both fiction and non-
fiction have been pub-
lished in recent months
on the Soviet Union and
the efforts of many of its
citizens to lift the yoke of
totalitarian oppression.
Some of. the books are
commentaries on Soviet
life or on Soviet Jews
through the eyes of fic-
tional characters. Others
are non-fiction, including
the following work which
presents a history of the
efforts of Soviet Jews to
emigrate from their
motherland to their
homeland.

From Moscow
to Jerusalem


(Shengold Publishers)

"On June 10th, 1967, a
single individual declared
open war on one of the
strongest and toughest
ruling systems ever to
exist. Twenty-year-old
Yasha Kazakov re-
nounced his Soviet citi-
zenship and demanded
the right to leave the
Soviet Union and return
to his homeland-Israel."
Thus begins Rebecca
Rass' history of the on-
going Jewish liberation
movement in the Soviet
Union. Beginning with
Yasha Kasakov's polite
revolt, Miss Rass chroni-
cles the struggle of Soviet
Jewry through 1973, in- :
eluding all the--factors
that have affected the
struggle; the Russian
Jews, the conditions in
the Soviet Union, and the
sometimes conflicting
and hampering efforts of
the Israel and United
States governments.
In her fourth chapters
"A Scandal They Won't
Be Able to Cover Up,"
Miss Rass deals exten-
sively with the early
blocking tactics of the Is-
raeli government and
American Jewish organi-
zations, and the official
policy of not antagonizing

the Russian government.
Excellently written in a
fast-paced, narrative
style, "From Moscow to
Jerusalem - provides a
fine documentary of what
has now become the
Soviet Jewry movement.
In the volume's
epilogue, Morris Braf-
man brings the reader up
to date, analyzing the
struggle of Soviet Jewry
and outlining the reasons
for advocating a "Law of
Meaningful Absorption"
in Israel. Brafman was a
participant in both the
first and second Interna- •
tional Conferences on
GRIGORY SVIRSKY
Soviet Jewry in Brussels.
Brafm an is highly criti- calumniated . . . her de-
cal of many institutions sperate journey back to
in Israeli society and the Ukraine in the wake
states several criticisms of the Nazi retreat, to find
and alternatives her family massacred,
suggested by the 100,000 betrayed to the enemy by
Russians who have emig- their own neighbors.
Svirsky then begins his
rated to Israel. His re-
forms would not only long battle to publish the
change the lives of the truth against unrelent-
immigrants but the en- ing attempts to co-opt or
coerce him. His wife must
tire society as well.
fight to find any work at
Hostages:
all, despite her superb
The Personal
qualifications as a scien-
Testimony of a
tist, tramping the winter
streets shoeless and in
Soviet Jew
rags until, ironically, the
(Alfred A. Knopf)
itself
Grigory Svirsky, look- government
her — to work on
ing back today from his employs
exile in Israel, reveals the a top-secret chemical-
consequences of being a warfare project.
Svirsky writes of the
Jew — yet, at the same
time, a loyal Communist dangers, the "accidents,"
the cruelties to their child
— in Soviet Russia.
Grigory Svirsky bears — and of Stalin's last
witness directly. Every- great anti-Semitic cam-
thing that is unfolded is paign, when to survive
drawn in all its pain and they had to use their only
urgency from his and his savings to buy bones for
wife's own haunted soup or one precious unit
memories. As he speaks, of much-needed
the reader relives 30 medicine: all the years of
years of slow nightmare: hostility and betrayal, of
his extraordinary experi- persecution by secret
ences in the Arctic Circle police and flagrantly
in World War II, fighting, open provocateurs.
not only the Germans, but
And of what is most
also the first skirmishes
soul-destroying: the reve-
in his personal war lation of the arbitrary
against the prejudices of vindictiveness of a gov-
his fellow Russians, as he
ernment they had been
sees the Jewish heroes at raised to honor as the
_ the front ignored and guardian of all the high-

-

est ideals of the Revolu-
tion.
In 1965, the Svirsky s'
stubborn resistance be-
comes rebellion. Svirsky
delivers a blazing public
attack or censorship and
anti-Semitism in Soviet
life. Expelled from the
Writers' Union, expelled
from the CommuniSt
Party, his books banned
from further publication,
his wife still further
persecuted until her
health breaks down, they
are rendered silent and
destitute. But he will not
recant.
Six years later, in 1971,
a hollow victory. Leaving
behind the country they
love, they are allowed to
emigrate to Israel.
In his own words
Svirsky states, "I am a
Russian. Or so I had
thought for many years. I
had reasons for thinking
the way I did. twasn't the
only one who had fought
for Russia.
"My great-grandfather
Girsh had been a soldier
under Nicholas I, and was
wounded nearly 130 years
ago in the first defense of
Sebastopol. He served 25
years in the Russian
Army, and I was named in
his honor.
"I thought I was a na-
tive Russian:But people
looked at me with cold,.
mocking eyes Reople
like Solovyova, the 'head
of culture' . . . I saw in
her eyes who I was . . ."
. By torment rather than
by torture, "Hostages"
shows how the machine of
state destroys the lives of
its unwanted.

Truth Is For
Strangers

(Doubleday)

The difficult life and
difficult choices pre-
sented by the Communist
system are described in
this novel by Efraim
Sevela, a member of the
first group of Russian
Jews allowed to emigrate
to Israel.

Sevela's main charac-
ter is Algis Pozera, a fam-
ous Lithuanian poet "and
spokesman for the Com-
munist Party whose
laurels and loyalty en-
sure him an easy, secure
future."
An ardent Communist
in his youth, Pozera in
Sevela's hands is now a
disillusioned party pup-
pet, "celebrating Com-
munist doctrine in
second-rate poems." An
encounter on a train
gives the main character
a chance to regain his
self-respect, but at the
cost of challenging and
perhaps losing what his
life has become.
Using this plot against
the background of the
bloody Communist
takeover of Lithuania,
Sevela paints a grim pic-
ture of Soviet Russia. The
author now lives in
Jerusalem with his wife
and two children, and has
been a journalist, film
writer and director.

Kontinent

(Anchor Press/Doubleday)

This is the English-
language translation of a
Russian journal of liter-
ary, social, political. and
religious commentary
put together by Russian
writers-in-exile. Fore-
words for the edition were
written by Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, Eugene
Ionesco and Andre
Sakharov.
In
Solzhenitsyn's
words, "The appearance
of a new journal, `Konti-
nent,' also stirs new
hopes. For the first time
since attempts in the
USSR to publish samiz-
dat journals in no way
subservient or conform-
ing to the official ideology
were nipped in the bud,
and since the only honest
and serious journal,
`Novy mir,' was ravaged,
the Russian intelligent-
sia is attempting to unite
its thoughts and works
without regard for either

the will of officials or its
own division by political
boundaries.
"This is neither the
ideal form nor ideal ter-
ritory for the publication
of a free Russian journal;
how much more joyous
our hearts would be if all
the authors as well as the
publisher itself were lo-
cated on native Russian
soil. But under • present-
day conditions this is
clearly not possible."

War Survival
in Soviet Strategy

(University of Miami)

This paperback volu
subtitled "Soviet Ci
Defense", is a detailed
monograph prepared by
the University of Miami's
Center for Advanced In-
ternational Studies.
Written by Leon Goure,
with a foreword by Am-
bassador Foy 'D. Kohler,
the 218-page book is a de-
tailed analysis of the
Soviet Union's civil de-
fense system and how it
relates to the country's
war preparedness.
The volume covers
political and strategic
considerations, war sur-
vival programs to protect
the Soviet economy, early
warning, evacuation and
dispersal programs and
popular training and in-
doctrination.
Highly technical in con-
tent, the volume
nevertheless gives the
lay reader an inkling of
official Soviet policy and
strategy. As the author
states, "Such prepared-
ness can be achieved as a
result of persistent train-
ing and education . .
"The significant aspect
of this training is not in
its compulsory character,
it being a long-standing
practice of the regime to
impose all sorts of ac-
tivities on the population,
but the fact that its qual-
ity, scope and effective-
ness have greatly in-
creased since the detente
in U.S.-Soviet relations. -

The Undersea Wonders of the Red Sea Coral Reef

(Editor's Note: The fol-
lowing is an excerpt from
"The Red Sea," by Dr.
David Darom, Sadan Pub-
lishers, Israel, re-printed
from the Jerusalem Post.)
The coral reef ecosys-
tem is without question
the densest assemblage
of living organisms to be
found in the sea. This
complex submerged won-
der, formed by thousands
of years of calcareous de-
posit by living corals, is
typical of the shallow

waters of tropical seas all tremendous underwater
over the world.
wall.
Diving in the Red Sea is
Here coral growth is
particularly thrilling, as
the wealth of living color the densest, with colonies
and movement associated of large branching corals,
with the coral reef is intermingling with huge'
spread out literally masses of hemispheric
within a stone's throw of coral, brain coral, mas-
the beach. sive coral as well as deli-
\ cate fan shaped colonies
At times, the whole reef and fleshy textured soft
complex, consisting of corals found usually
multitudes of different lower down on the slope.
organisms, plunges down Undoubtedly the most
to great depths, forming a _ prominent elements on

the seaward edge of the
reef are the large yellow-
orange plates of "Fire
Coral." A relative of the
true corals, it possesses a
powerful stinging poten-
tial after which it is
named.
The uniqueness of the
Red Sea reefs lies not only
in the obvious wealth of
their different species
(which itself is remarkable
enough) but also in the de-
nseness of their as-

semblage.
-
At times, over 20
species of coral can be
found within a span of
several meters (compared
with less than half a
dozen in coral reefs
elsewhere) and already
over 100 species of coral
have been identified from
the Gulf of Eilat. •
Hundreds of forms of
crustaceans are also
closely related to the coral
reef. There are the strange
hermit crabs that live in
empty shells to protect
their soft abdomen, there
are the large edible
lobsters that emerge after
sunset to prowl the reef for
food, and the beautiful
reef crabs.
Tropical fish are un-
doubtedly the most spec-
tacular in color, shape_
and behavior among the
organisms of the coral
reef.
'IVIultitudes
of
brightly-hued tiny fish
swimming along the edge
of the reef intermingle
"with a collection of larger,
strangely shaped and
marvelously colored

coral fish to form a living
mantle for the tropical
reef. Every species finds
its own suitable living
quarters and there is food
in plenty even for the
most specialized feeders,
making the coral reef as
near an ideal living place
as can be.
The most rewarding
time of the day to go
fish-watching is during
the early hours of the
morning and the late,af-
ternoon. It is then a.' . t
noticeable change
about in the rhythm and
behavior patterns of
coral fish. This is feeding
time.
Most fish emerge from
their hiding-places, some
to nibble away at the
fles14. tissues of corals,
others to crunch flesh arid
stone off coral branches
later to deposit the re-
mains as clear white
sand. Many fish roam the
coral flats, feeding on
algae while moving about
in herds, or dig up tasty
morsels in sandy patches
between the large coral
heads.

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