Jewish Emigration from USSR Not’ Impractical’ Hias Official Says

Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice president of the United Hias Service, said today that relatives of Jews seeking to emigrate from the Soviet Union should not be discouraged by the difficult process of obtaining an exit visa. Jacobson was commenting on the description of that process contained in a report by Abraham S. Karlikow, director of the American Jewish Committee’s European office, released here last week, excerpts from which were published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency July 14. Jacobson told the JTA that contrary to the impression which may have been created by the Karlikow report, Jewish emigration from the USSR is “hardly impractical and indeed is on the increase to the United States as well as to Israel.” He said that “Far from discouraging prospective emigres and their families from seeking reunion in freedom, current reports from families recently emigrated and from other sources indicate cause for optimism. While there are difficulties encountered in the somewhat intricate migration procedures, individuals should not be at all discouraged–they should in fact be hopeful.” Jacobson said.

Another spokesman for Hias told the JTA that successful emigres have indicated that visas can be won through the doggedness and persistence of the applicants, although admittedly to many instances this has not been the case. Hias reported that 92 Soviet Jews have immigrated to the U.S. between Jan. 1-June 30, 1971, compared to a total of 125 for all of 1970. Sixteen of the newcomers have arrived this month and, according to Hias, 28 Jews in Moscow who plan to come to the U.S. are awaiting the processing of visas that have been granted them. Hias said it now has an active caseload of 3,000 applications from American citizens to have their families in Russia join them and anticipates that the caseload will increase. Hias said that through its facilities relatives of Soviet Jews can initiate a search for their kin whose whereabouts in the USS are unknown. The organization urged the relatives of Soviet Jews to contact the Hias office in New York for further information on all aspects of immigration.

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