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January 21, 1983 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-01-21

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, January 21, 1983

21

Soviet Scientist Branover Recounts Emigration Trials in Return'

By ALLEN A. WARSEN
Prof. Herman Branover's

"Return," published by Fel-
dheim Publishers
(Jerusalem-New York), is a
fascinating memoir.
Prof. Branover was born
in Riga in 1932 into a mid-
dle class family. His grand-
father was a pediatrician
and his father an ag-
ronomist, who had leftist
- leanings, although the Bol-
sheviks sent two of his
brothers to concentration
camps "on the accusation of
betraying the homeland."
During the war with the
Germans, the Soviets shot
his father, falsely accusing
him of shooting at their
soldiers.
As the Germans were
coming closer to Riga, the
author's mother, fearing to
remain in the city, bought a
one-eyed mare and cart and
set out for Russia. As they
reached Pskov, they "kissed
the mare farewell," and
took the train that brought
Tnem umsx in norm=
western Siberia. From
there, they were taken to
the village of Tshurlak on
the shore of the Irtish river
where they remained until
the end of the war in 1945,
when they returned to Riga.
Before long, the author
re-entered the gymnasium;
and upon graduation, went
to Leningrad to continue his
studies. There, he enrolled
in the physical-mechanical
faculty (department) of the
Polytechnical Institute.
During the examina-
fion, the author relates,
"an unpleasant incident
occurred. After I had
thoroughly answered all

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the questions on the
examination form, plus
several additional ones
the woman examiner
threw this question at me:
`At what time of day and
to whom did Korobochka
go after Chichikov vis-
ited her?' I honestly had
read Gogol's 'Dead Souls'
all the way through more
than once, but when and
to whom this
Korobochka had gone I
couldn't recall. You have
shown disrespect to my
national writer,' the
examiner angrily ac-
cused me, emphasizing
the word 'my' — and
struck me down with a
three."
Although Branover's
marks were among the
highest, he still was not ac-
cepted to the physical-
mechanical faculty. In-
stead, he was admitted to
the department of hy-
draulics. Likewise on
graduating from that de-

position in a field totally un-
familiar to him, the insti- .
tute of the paper industry,
Giprobum.
"I started to protest," he
writes, "but a corpulent
man in a military uniform,
looking at me with disdain
and condemnation, said:
`Offer him Vorkuta
(Siberia), then he'll agree
quickly to Giprobum.' "
In 1961, his friend Fania
and he got married secretly
in Dwinsk because "The
Rogachev Gaon, one of the
greatest Jewish minds in
our time, had lived there be-
fore the war."
Significantly, the Jews,
who settled in Riga after
the war found out that
the Germans with the as-
sistance of Latvians ex-
terminated the city's
entire Jewish popula-
tion with the exception
of irida Michelson, who
miraculously remained
alive, in the forest near
the Rumbula railroad
station. ("The Jewish
News" of June 4, 1982, re-
viewed Frida Michel-
son's memoir, "I Sur-
vived Rumbula.")
They converted the site
where the slaughter had oc-
curred into a cemetery and
placed there a tombstone
with the Yiddish inscrip-
tion: "Di Korbones foon
Fashizm" ("The Victims of
Fascism"). But as soon as
the Soviet government
learned about the
gravestone, it ordered the
local authorities to remove
it and have it replaced with

- -
one bearing the epitaph:
"Soviet Citizens" in Rus-
sian.
As instructed, the police
confiscated the stone and
forgot about it. But a group
of Jewish zealots, who did
not forget, found the
gravestone; secretly placed
it at the old site; and photo-
graphed it. "The next day,
the photographs were seen
in foreign newspapers and
the authorities decided to
give in."
Prof. Branover, freed
from Bolshevik atheism,
became a devoted and ob-
servant Jew and an adherer
of Chabad Hassidism.
Branover, moreover,
wrote a book in which he
elucidated his "views on na-
ture and humanity" and
clarified his thoughts on
"the unique place and mis-
sion of my long-suffering
people in this world."
Since his book could
not be published in
Soviet Russia, it was
where it was translated
into Hebrew and pub-
lished under the name,
"Mima' amakim" ("From
the Depths").
In 1971 Prof. Branover
and his wife applied to the
government for permission
to emigrate to the Holy
Land. As expected, their
application was rejected.
They were dismissed from
their jobs, and were fre-
quently harassed by the

than 10 minutes I was talk-
ing with the Rebbe's secre-
tary. The Rebbe gave me his
blessings and assured me
that we would soon receive
permission to leave.
A few months later, after
they paid ransom, as re-

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Nobel Committee in Swe-
den.
"One day," the author
writes, "I gathered my
courage and went to the post
office to call the
Lubavitcher Rebbe in New
York. Although convinced
that they wouldn't connect
me with New York, in less

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MAN 48-9
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1915 WAS

FOR GROWING UP.

Tonight watch the story of two
young men who must go from boy-
hood to manhood overnight. Follow
each involving episode of this seven
part series based on the epic novel,
"1915."

MD Immigrants

TEL AVIV (ZINS) —
Since 1970, some 2,600 doc-
tors have emigrated to Is-
rael from the Soviet Union.
This accounts for one-third
of the physicians in Israel.
Many of the Russian
physicians are employed in
development towns, in the
army, Kupat Holim clinics
and by Magen David Adorn.
The Russians say their
most serious obstacle is the
attitude of the Israel Medi-
cal Association, which does
not recognize Russian med-
ical standards.

payment for their educa- Branover made his way to
tion, they were finally per- Israel. As one of the world's
mitted to go to Israel.
authorities in the recondite
In his profound "Fore- field of magnetohyd-
word" to Branover's rodynamics, he now serves
memoir, novelist Herman on the faculty of the Ben-
Wouk states: "With appal- Gurion University of the
ling difficulty, Profe ssor Negev in Beersheva."
I. am al I. ow II. al MN
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