Soviet Leadership Said to Reach Decision on Emigration Depending on Mideast Events

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said today that it had reliable information that the Soviet leadership has already reached a decision on the “Jewish problem.” But it can still be influenced by the reactions of foreign Communists attending the 24th Soviet Communist Party Congress in Moscow this week. The principle of Jewish emigration will be preserved but the numbers permitted to emigrate will vary according to the Middle East situation, the Board of Deputies said. According to its information, there are many indications of an agreement between the Soviet Union and some Arab states regarding the number of Jews allowed to leave Russia for Israel. The Board produced documents confirming earlier reports by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Jews in Riga, Latvia and in Vilna and Kovno, Lithuania, were barred from going to Moscow although they had exit visas and planned to board planes there for Vienna.

The emigres were forced to travel to Vienna by train from their respective cities, the reports said. According to the documents, Soviet authorities did not want Jewish emigrants seen in Moscow during the Communist Party Congress. The Board of Deputies also reported information confirming an earlier JTA report that four of the 30 Jews arrested in a demonstration outside the offices of the Soviet Union’s chief prosecutor, Roman A. Rudenko, on March 26, were separated from their fellow prisoners and taken to an unknown place of detention. They had been sentenced to 15 days in jail on charges of “hooliganism.” Meanwhile, the Universities Committee for Soviet Jewry claimed today that it had information that 20 Jews in the Urals town of Sverdlovsk were beaten by members of the KGB, the Soviet secret police, after they signed a letter protesting the impending trials of Jews in Leningrad and Riga. According to the informant, the Jews were taken to a cellar for interrogation and physically assaulted.

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