NEW YORK (May. 1)
The mother of a Latvian student who on April 12 reportedly immolated himself in Riga in protest against Soviet anti-Semitism has not seen him since April 13 and does not know whether he is alive, it was reported today. According to the International League for Repatriation of Russian Jews, Mr. Ripps’ mother, whose name was not given, called Riga police on the evening of April 13 when she had not seen him for over a day and was told that her son deserved a spanking because he was a trouble-maker. Eyewitness reports reaching the League’s office in Geneva and attributed to New Jersey tourists, who still have not been located by the New York headquarters, said the 21-year-old Riga University mathematics student tried to burn himself in downtown Riga.
He was said to have shouted to Russian marines, who put out the fire, to let him die or be given freedom to emigrate to Israel. The incident was said to have taken place in front of a freedom statue. The League’s Geneva office described him as a gifted young man who had entered Riga University with outstanding marks and was preparing for his doctorate in mathematics.