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July 21, 1989 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-21

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

UP FRONT

After 58 Years In The USSR,
Abe Stolar Finally Comes Home

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

Features Editor

A

silver band is all that
remains of the chains
that once bound Abe
Stolar to the Soviet Union.
The band, a gift from an
anonymous giver who heard
him speak here this week, is
a refusenik bracelet bearing
Stolar's name and the year,
1975, he applied for permis-
sion to emigrate. Stolar was
in Detroit as part of a nation-
wide tour.
Stolar, 77, was born and
raised in Chicago. His father
worked as a correspondent for
the Soviet paper Izvestia; his
mother made artificial
flowers. Both were staunch
communists who often
brought young Abe with
them to party rallies.
Born in Russia, the Stolars
immigrated in 1909 to the
United States to escape the
czar. They were overjoyed
when Lenin and the
Bolshevik Party took control
of their homeland. For many
years, they dreamed of retur-
ning to their birthplace to
work and live with their
fellow communists.
In 1930, the Stolars learn-
ed they would be allowed to
come live in the Soviet Union.
They couldn't believe their
great fortune.
"All communists dreamed
of going to the Soviet Union,"
Abe Stolar said. "It was their
Mecca."
The father was the first to
go. He settled in Moscow,
where he rented an apart-

ment for the family and
began working as manager of
the English-language
Moscow Daily News. His work
"really helped modernize the
English-language press in the
Soviet Union," Abe Stolar
said.
The next year, the elder
Stolar brought over the rest of
the family. Abe, 19, was hired
at The Daily News as was his
sister, Eva, the paper's chief
proofreader.
The second day after their
arrival, all the Stolars
became Soviet citizens.
For the Stolar children, the
Soviet Union was an adven-
ture. As foreign nationals,
they were permitted luxuries
few Soviet citizens enjoyed.
Abe Stolar remembers atten-
ding the Bolshoi Ballet, see-
ing free programs in Gorky
Park and playing checkers at
a local club, "where someone
would get on the piano and
we would all dance."

'If an announcer
did so much as
sneeze during a
broadcast, he
would be
suspected of
sending secret
signals to the CIA.

He also recalls touring the
Red October Candy Factory
and standing in the top of a
cathedral near Red Square
that overlooked the Kremlin.
It was dark and heavy inside
and "looked like the

Abe Stolar and his wife, Gita: 'How can you be happy when everything
around you is false?'

art school. He had been in-
terested in art from a young
age — as a boy, he had cut out
and colored cartoons from the
newspaper.
At art school, Stolar studied
painting, drawing, stage
decoration and advertising.
He took a biology class with
a teacher who was rarely in
attendance. Although he had
by then picked up a great deal
of Russian, he would scribble
down words he didn't know
and take them home to his
father to translate.
After art school, he found
work making drawings for a
publisher. The job ended
when his father was arrested.
"It was dangerous for
anybody to even be in contact
with me."
Throughout the 1930s,
Stolar held a position with
the Soviet news agency TASS.
He also worked in a factory

and painted faces on dolls
with sawdust-filled heads. His
mother helped support the
family by selling bits of color-
ful American-made cloth.
Stolar served in the
engineers' unit of the Soviet
army from 1941-1947. "But I
didn't dig any trenches," he
said. "I sat in army head-
quarters where I wrote daily
reports and orders of the day
because the officers didn't
have time for any of that,
though I don't know what
they were so damned busy do-
ing."
He also wrote letters home
for the Red Army soldiers,
many of whom were peasants
who couldn't read or write.
Stolar said he hated the
thought that, as a soldier he
was "fighting for Stalin" —
the ubiquitous Soviet leader.
"He was all over the place,"

or higher were found to be
nearsighted.
The study also found cor-
relations between near-
sightedness and level of
education. While 7.4 percent
of men who had completed
less than eight years of school
were nearsighted, 19.7 per-
cent of those with 12 or more
years were myopic.

tional bans on prayer in
public schools.
Daniel Weisman brought
his concern about the prayer
at Nathan Bishop Middle
School ceremonies to the
school's principal, Robert Lee.
Lee told Weisman he
shouldn't worry because a
rabbi from "your own faith"
had been invited to deliver
the opening prayers.
Weisman said the issue was
not a matter of religious
preference but of the separa-
tion of church and state.
Weisman appealed to the
American Civil Liberties
Union, which is bringing the
case to trial. It is scheduled to
be heard in U.S. district court
in September.

Continued on Page 16

ROUND UP

The Big Scoop:
Peace Pops

Ben & Jerry's Homemade
Inc., an all-natural ice cream
company headed by Ben
Cohen and Jerry Greenfield,
is giving war the cold
shoulder with its latest crea-
tion: Peace Pops.
Available in four flavors —
French Vanilla, Heath Bar
Crunch, Cherry Garcia and
New York Super Fudge
Chunk — the Peace Pops ice
cream comes in boxes with in-
formation about 1 Percent For
Peace., a non-profit organiza-
tion whose goals include con-
vincing Congress to
redistribute 1 percent of the
national defense budget to a
peace agenda.
Cohen and Greenfield,
childhood friends who went

cathedral in The Hunchback
of Notre Dame," Stolar said.
Yet for their mother, life in
the communist country was
agony. Their apartment — a
two-bedroom flat for the
Stolars, their two children
and Eva Stolar's husband —
had no gas and just one rusty
sink in need of repair. She us-
ed a kerosene burner to cook
family meals.
"Did she regret going to the
Soviet Union?" Stolar said. "I
don't think she could help but
regret it."
Stolar's father was at first
delighted with life in the
Soviet Union. But soon he,
too, came to regret his deci-
sion to move. The reason for
his misery: Josef Stalin.
Together with thousands of
others labeled "enemies of the
state," Stolar's father was a
victim of the Soviet leader's
purges. He was taken away in
April 1937 and never seen
again.
"Ever since my father was
arrested there wasn't a single
night — and very often not a
single day — when I felt
secure and safe," Stolar said.
"You never knew when they
would come."
Stolar's brother-in-law also
was taken away to prison
camp when Eva Stolar was
pregnant with her second
child. She learned of her hus-
band's fate when one of her
letters to him was returned.
Stamped above the address
was the word DECEASED.
After leaving his position
with The Moscow Daily News,
Abe Stolar studied at a Soviet

The Eyes
Have It

New York (JTA) — Near-
sighted people may be
smarter than those with
20/20 vision.

Peace Pops:
A message to Congress.

into business with only an
old-fashioned rock salt ice
cream maker and a $5 cor-
respondence course in ice
cream making, will donate 1
percent of their business' pre-
tax profits to 1 Percent For
Peace.
Ben & Jerry's ice cream is
available in Canada, Ohio, Il-
linois, New York, Florida, In-
diana, California and several
other states.

Drs. Michael Belkin and
Mordechai Rosner of Tel Aviv
University, examining data
from more than 157,000
young men who underwent
the standard Israel Defense
Force physical examinations,
found a clear correlation bet-
ween nearsightedness and IQ.

According to the resear-
chers, 15.7 percent of the
Israeli population are near-
sighted. But in recruits with
an IQ below 80, only 7.9 were
nearsighted. And 27.1 per-
cent of those with an IQ 128

Father Sues
Over Prayer

New York (JTA) — A Rhode
Island college professor has
filed suit against a Pro-
vidence middle school, claim-
ing the recital of an invoca-
tion and benediction at his
daughter's graduation
ceremony violated constitu-

Compiled by
Elizabeth Appelbaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

5

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