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May 31, 1985 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-31

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

22

Friday, May 31, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

SPECIAL SUMMER
MEMBERSHIPS
NOW AVAILABLE
AT HAMILTON
PLACE

NO INITIATION

Come on in everything's fine at
Hamilton Place, and you can
enjoy it just for the
summer months if you'd
like. You'll get full use
of the club all summer.
• Free Aerobics
• Indoor and Outdoor'
Pools • Nautilus and
Universal Equipment
• Tennis • Saunas
• Whirlpools
• Restaurant and
Lounge • All this and
much more.
Have a great time this
summer at Hamilton Place.
(Full year memberships also
available at 75% off initiation.)

HAMILTON PLACE

ATHLETIC

Hall

C 611i:
1 is cit RR ii

Presented by
Hall Real Estate Group

IN-STORE WAREHOUSE SALE!!!
3 DAYS ONLY!

et "
' al(e4 <

• Floor samples only

• Groups sold as complete sets
• Sorry, no layaways
• Immediate delivery at nominal charge

FREE DELIVERY IF YOU PRESENT THIS AD

*Accessories 20-50% OFF

Tel-Twelve Mall • Telegraph Et 12 Mile in Southfield
Daily 10-9, Sunday 12-5 • 354-9060
© COPYRIGHT 1985 SHERWOOD STUDIOS. INC.

I

THE REFUSENIKS

Soviet Jews

Continued from preceding page

Pasha reminded me of a friend
who is a professor of chemistry
at Johns Hopkins University,
and how his wife, Marta, had
the same vivacity and spunk
that the chemist's wife has.

0

ur last night \in Russia,
part of our group heard an 11-
`year-old piano prodigy named
Evgeni Kessin play Prokofiev's
Third Piano Concerto like an
angel at the Leningrad
Philharmonia.
A group of us visited the
Hermitage for the second time,
once again admiring the Re-
mbrandt, Impressionist and
Post-Impressionist paintings on
display.
We bought Beluga caviar for
less than half what we'd pay for
it at home.
It was such fun that I was
almost genial when customs
stopped me for the most
thorough-going search. I don't
know why.
"You have books?" the inspec-
tor asked me.
"Oh yes," I answered amica-
bly. "And records, too."
I had bought a half dozen
heavy art books and a dozen re-
cordings of Russian folk music
and classical selections.
"Show me books," he ordered.
I obliged, opening all the com-
partments of my suitcases where
I had stashed books and records.
The inspector unpacked all
my clothes, all the trinkets. I
had tucked wooden figures into
boots, small jars of caviar - into
my shoes. Out of one shoe fell a
small plaster pin which Pasha
had given me."Of our own man-
ufacture," he -explained, "a
souvenir for you."
It was a small plaster model
with a menorah and a Mogen
David etched on one side, a
safety pin imbedded on the
other.
"What's this?" the customs of-
ficial demanded, picking it up
from where it had fallen into my
lingerie.
"A pin," I replied.
"What do you do with this?"
he asked.
"You wear it," I said.
"Who gave this to you?" he
demanded.
"A man I met," I answered.
"What do you do with this?"
he asked again.
"I wear it," I answered.
After a moment, he put down
the pin. He picked up my purse,
rifled through it and took out
my notebook. He tried to read
the scrawl on the pages, gave up
and turned to my check book.
Slowly, ploddingly, he read
through every single page of my
checkbook, pondering all the
numbers and entries.
At that moment, my husband
came through the gate.
"Is everything all right?" he
asked
"Are you with her?" the cus-
toms official asked my husband.
"Yes," he answered.
"Open your suitcase!" he or-
dered, making my husband re-
trieve his case from the table
where it had been placed, un-
opened, waiting to be loaded on

.

a conveyor belt down to the
baggage cart below.
He rifled through my hus-
band's personal goods. Once
again, he read patiently through
the pages of his checkbook.
In neither instance did he
notice the coded address books
we had both tucked into our
wallets with our folding money..
Nor was he interested in various
innocent items we had been
asked to carry out as gifts fo
family members of refuseniks —
toys, mementos, no letters, no
identifiable items, nothing of
value except to the people in-
volved.
It was an arbitrary, petty
exercise in prying, in threaten-
ing us, in testing us.
After a while, the inspector
gave up. We forced our clothes
and other goods back into the

4

4

. . they are very
experienced. They
have perfected their
communication
strategies, they are
rfprofessional
refuseniks."

.

cases and joined the rest of our
party, which had passed without
being opened. •
Why us? No reason. Possibly
because I was the ninth of a
4
group of ten. Possibly because
my luggage was heavier, given
the number of books and records
I carried. I remained good-
natured throughout the ordeal,
offering to help, answering el
questions without hesitation.
I
It wasn't until we got to Hel-
sinki that we discovered that I
was missing a couple of papier
mache items that refuseniks had
given me as gifts, and that my
husband was missing his run-
ning shorts, shirt and pajamas. I
had already noticed that the
hotel personnel had helped
themselves, without waiting, to
a pouch full of panty hose that I
had planned on distributing as
tips.
There is no stealing in the
Soviet Union. That's official. No
sense in bringing anything
I
you're unwilling to give up if
necessary. No sense complaining
unless you want to go through
the rigamarole of helping them
return your goods by suggesting
that "a mistake" might have
been made. Perhaps the maid
. had mistakenly wrapped the
pajamas in the sheets. Just a
mistake.
I left the USSR with a deep
sense of the Soviets' utter waste
of human potential. An unprod-
uctive society, its goods are un-
fairly distributed. Party officials
may shop in the hard currency U
beriozka shops where we tourists
bought our cheap caviar. Ordi-
nary citizens must make do with
the shoddy goods in ordinary,
higher-priced stores where long
lines greet the arrival of such



dr4

Continued on Page 24

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