TEL AVIV (Mar. 22)
Sources described as “authoritative” claimed here today that Soviet authorities have started a campaign of harassment against Jews in the Georgian Republic who have signed petitions demanding emigration rights. The same sources also said that preparations were being made for a “show trial” of Jews in Riga who have been active in the movement for the right to emigrate to Israel. The trial is supposed to begin at the end of April, the source said. There was no immediate information, however, whether this “show trial” is the one that had been scheduled to begin late Jan. but then delayed or whether this trial involves another group of Jews. The reports were presented at a meeting of the Israeli Council for Russian Jewry. Speakers denounced unconfirmed but persistent reports from Russia that Soviet authorities were easing their policy on exit visas for Jews.
They said such reports were inspired by the authorities as a propaganda ruse to divert world opinion from the plight of Soviet Jews. The sources said that while the reports were of circulating Georgian Jews who signed petitions were being forced to declare that their signatures were forgeries. The Russians have chosen Georgia for their campaign against the Jews because it is remote from Moscow and far from the eyes and ears of foreign newsmen, the sources claimed. Meanwhile, five Jewish families from Kharkov were expected in Israel late tonight. The last Jewish immigrant from that city, arrived here eight months ago. He is Abraham Bogdanowski, an engineer who now lives in Haifa. The newcomers landed in Vienna last Friday. They were reportedly given a farewell party by 150 friends when they left Kharkov.