LONDON (Sep. 28)
Nine Sverdlovsk Jews have disclosed the contents of a letter addressed to the head of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, according to information received here from Jewish sources in the Soviet Union. The nine signers included, Ela Kukui, wife of Valeriy Kukui, whose appeal from a three-year prison term was turned down on Sept. 12 by the Supreme Court of the Russian Soviet Republic. Kukui was convicted on June 15 of “anti-Soviet activity.” The letter to Yuri Andropov declared that “we live in an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, ridicule and intimidation but you ought to know that they cannot break us. We join our brethren in Georgia, who proclaimed not long ago ‘Israel or death.’”
It was also reported that 54 Riga Jews wrote on Sept. 19 to the central committee of the Communist Party of Soviet Latvia, asking for an interview in connection with their applications to emigrate to Israel. They reportedly were still waiting for the interview but their hopes were understood to have been raised by the interview five Jews had with Soviet and Communist Party officials at the Party’s central committee headquarters on Sept. 20 in Moscow.
The Jewish sources also reported that Yitzhak Schlaferman, a Kharkov electrician applied six months ago for an exit visa for Israel and that his application was rejected and he was fired from his job. On Sept. 18, police came to his home and notified him that as “an idler and a parasite,” he had been ordered sent to a place of forced labor. He is now in an unskilled job outside of Kharkov despite the great demand for electricians.
The sources also released the text of a letter to Communist Party chief Leonld Brezhnev from Pavel Goldstein, a Moscow Jew, who wrote: “There is no life for me outside the holy land. But I am also voicing the sentiments of countless other Jews when I tell you that there is a great hatred against all those Jews who have applied for exit visas to go to Israel.” He mentioned a number of Jewish activists who had been sent to prison in recent months who “suffer agonies in labor camps merely because they expressed a desire to go to Israel.”
In prior times, he wrote, “they used to burn Jews who spoke their own Hebrew language, while today Jews have to undergo torture for wanting to settle in their ancient country.” He added that “the argument is not a political one. It is an argument between haters of Zion and fair-minded people who want justice for everybody.”