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Letter by Georgian Soviet Jew Delivered to General Assembly President

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An embittered and impassioned letter from a Soviet Jew denied the right to emigrate to Israel was delivered to General Assembly President Edvard Hambro today. It appealed for his help “to use my human rights and settle in a country which I have selected by my own free will.” The writer identified himself as Abraham Buzukashvili of Tiblisl, in the Georgian Soviet Republic. He claimed that when he and other Jews go to the local visa office to press their petitions for exit permits, “We are struck with fists and thrown out by the chief. Comrade Major Kiknadze, with shouts: ‘Don’t ever come here again for any Jewish business! That’s what we have been ordered by the higher authorities.'” The letter, the first from a Soviet Jew addressed to the General Assembly President, was delivered to Mr. Hambro with a covering letter from Rabbi Herschel Schachter, chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry. Rabbi Schachter said the Buzukashvill appeal was brought out of Russia by a recent traveler and was similar to 124 other petitions “signed by literally hundreds of Jews in the Soviet Union which have been submitted to the UN over the course of the past 12 months,” Rabbi Schachter asked the Norwegian diplomat to “give this petition your personal attention.”

Mr. Buzukashvili wrote that he had received a visa from Israel in July, 1969 and submitted it with other necessary documents to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs Office of Foreign Travel. “I have received no answer at all to any of my applications.” he said. He said he sent copies of his request to Premier Alexei Kosygin, Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny and to other Kremlin leaders. “But no one pays any attention to us,” he said. He said. “The simple reason is that some anti-Semites are trying, even now, to destroy our nation, to scatter its people all over the world and compel the Jews to be subjugated to others and be tortured like our ancestors in the Egypt of the Pharaohs.” He wrote, “Let the Soviet government use any of its usual methods, including hanging, they will not dissuade me and I will always ask to leave this country and settle forever in Israel. This right is given to me by the Constitution of the Soviet Union and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

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