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September 07, 1979 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-09-07

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

18 Friday, September 7, 1979

LAWN SPRINKLER Underground Soviet Jewish Jornal and
Its Editors Are Targets of the Kremlin
REPAIRS

NEW YORK (JTA) —
The long-feared crackdown
on the Russian Jewish un-
derground journal "Jews in
the USSR" has evidently
begun with the arrest of one
of its editors, Moscow refus-
nik Igor Guberman, accord-
ing to the Student Struggle

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for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) and
Union of Councils for Soviet
Jews (UCSJ).
Guberman, a 43-year-old
writer of popular science ar-
ticles for young people, has
been accused under Article
208 of the RSFSR Criminal
Code of dealing in icons sto-
len from a church near Mos-
cow. He could face seven
years' imprisonment fol-
lowed by five years' internal
exile and confiscation of his
property.
The SSSJ and UCSJ said
Jewish activists believed
Guberman, who was twice
refused an exit visa since he
applied last December, was
"set up" on a criminal
charge to hide the political
nature of his arrest.
He is known in Moscow
as an icon collector and
an authority on old reli-
gious art. But realizing
that his connection with
the Jewish "samizdat"
could lead to trouble, he
stopped purchasing
icons three years ago.
The editors of "Jews in
the USSR," who list their
names on each issue to pro-
claim their belief that its
publication is within Soviet
law, have been harassed
since its inception in 1973.
Twenty issues of the typew-
ritten journal have come out
since then.
A new wave of pressure
began at the end of 1979,
with KGB raids on the
homes of editors in Moscow,
Leningrad and Riga, and at-
tempts to recruit informers
among its contributors,
promising rewards as trips
abroad, the Soviet Jewry
groups reported.
The SSSJ adn UCSJ said
that the content of "Jews in
the USSR" is largly non-
political, concentrating on
articles on Jewish life and
lore. Some are written by
Jewish activists; others are
translated from Western
publications.
Meanwhile, the final
chapter in what the SSSJ
and UCSJ called 'tone of
the most tragic stories in
the annals of the emigra-
tion movement" played
itself out last week when
refusnik Dr. Victoria Pol-
tinnikov hung herself in
her Novosibirsk apart-
ment.
Officials at a local hospi-
tal where she was recover-
ing from severe malnutri-
tion had made no move to
prevent her from walking
out. •
Her physical state had
become self-imposed when
she and her mother, Dr.
Irma Poltinnikov, were dri-
ven to paranoia from seven
years of exit denials and
government harassments,
then refused to believe they
had finally received visas in
January, and locked them-
selves in their home.
Irma Poltinnikov died of
starvation there on Aug. 6.
Victoria's father, Dr. Isaac
Poltinnikov, had been un-
able to either persuade his
family to leave with him cr
convince them he had actu-
ally arrived in Israel in May

to rejoin his second daugh-
ter, Eleanora.
Speaking by phone
with SSSJ and UCSJ,
Eleanora lashed out at
the Soviet authorities
"who knew what the end
would be, but patiently
waited for the result,"
since her sister and
mother's mental states
were "classic textbook
cases." Under "strict
Soviet law," she said, Vic-
toria should have been
placed under mental ob-
servation as a would-be
suicide.
"Instead, they left her
alone without control, and
allowed her to leave. She
walked out and nobody paid
attention. They were ap-
parently glad to see her go."
Several days earlier, se-
eing that the hospital
physicians were ready to
discharge her, Novosibirsk
activist Felix Kochbiyevsky
unsuccessfully pleaded with
them to keep her further.
In a related development,
the Coalition for Alterna-
tives in Jewish Education
(CAJE), a grass roots organ-
ization of more than 1,500
North American Jewish
educators which is holding
ifs fourth annual conference
at Rutgers University in
New Brunswick, N.J., an-
nounced the formation of a
chapter in the Soviet Union.
The chapter is com-
prised of 30 Jewish
teachers in Moscow,
Leningrad, Minsk, Kiev,
Vilna, Kishinev, Tbilisi
and three other cities.
Most of these teachers
were visited this summer

by Barbara Pomerantz
and Kurt Stone, two Cin-
cinnati Hebrew
educators and CAJE
members who were tour-
ing the Soviet Union.
Upon their return to this
country, Pomerantz and
Stone briefed the CAJE
board on the state of Jewish
education in the USSR. The
board then formally invited
the 30 teachers to join the
organization and attend its
fourth conference.
Although the teachers,
many of whom are refus-
niks, were not permitted to
leave the Soviet Union, a
hushed CAJE plenum lis-
tened to a tape appeal from
Lev Ulanovsky, a 29-year-
old refusnik astrophysicist,
who is now one of Moscows
leading Hebrew teachers.

"We have a tremendous
shortage of educational
material," Ulanovsky
said. He appealed for
books, tapes and other
resources which, he
added, "are a matter of
life and death for the fu-
ture of Jewish life and
culture in Russia."
The plenum voted to es-
tablish a task force on
Soviet Jewish education.
The primary purpose of this
task force will be to provide
desperately needed educa-
tional material for Soviet
Jews. It will also offer such
material to Soviet Jews in
this country, and will estab-
lish educational links be-
tween North American
Jewish teachers and stu-
dents, and their Soviet
counterparts.

Returning Israelis Exceed
Those Leaving the Country

It is understood that the
JERUSALEM (JTA) —
For the first time in many gap between the Absorption
years, the number of return- Ministry figures and that of
ing Israelis exceeded that of the Jewish Agency stems
Israelis leaving the country, from differences in defini-
Absorption' Minister David tions. Levy included in his
Levy said at a press confer- count all Israelis who had
spent more than two years
ence.
Levy said that balance overseas as well as all those
was reached last year when who returned married to
22,900 Israelis returned to new immigrants. If those
the country, in comparison two groups are subtracted,
to about 10,000 who leftithe the number of Israelis who
country in the same period. spent more than four years
He said 6,662 came back as overseas (the usual defini-
part of a special program tion for yordim) and who re-
launched by the Ministry of turn to Israel, the number is
Absorption on the occasion 4,300.
Using the same statistics,
of Israel's 30th anniversary,
with the assistance_of aliya Levy claimed that the
and absorption institutions. number of returning Is-
The others came back on raelis in the period dis-
cussed exceeded in some
their own.
The plan to encourage Is- cases those of the number of
raelis to return home began immigrants. For example,
in January 1978 and is some 6,100 Israelis re-
scheduled to end at the end turned from North
of this month. According to America. The number of
Levy, within the framework immigrants from that part
of the plan, some 12,000 re- of the world was 5,125 in the
turned in that period. Some -same period.
Levy said that according
30 Israelis were returning
to Central Bureau of Statis-
daily, he said.
But Jewish Agency tics figures, the number of
sources said in reaction Israelis who left thecountry
that only some 4,500 reg- last year and are expected to
istered as returning Is- stay overseas for a longer
raelis in the period dis- period did not exceed
cussed. They did not 10,000, a decrease of 21 per-
know how Levy compiled cent compared to the. year
before.
his figures.

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