Menu JTA Search

Russian Jew Drops Letter on Brezhnev’s Lap; 7 Youths Arrested; Vigil Held

A 36-year-old Russian-born Jew broke through a police cordon outside the Soviet Embassy today and managed to drop a letter through an open window of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev’s limousine as he was about to drive to the Elysee Palace for talks with President Georges Pompidou. The Jew, identified as Pierre Bazian, a translator by profession, was arrested but released after a few hours. He said he belonged to no organization or group but acted on his own.

Bazian’s letter was a plea to be allowed to get in touch with his aged parents who live in Russia and from whom he has not heard in a long time. Eye-witnesses said the letter fell on Brezhnev’s knees and that he accepted it without any visible reaction. Seven Jewish youths, all members of the Jewish Students Front, were arrested today for demonstrating in front of the Louvre while Brezhnev was inspecting the art treasures inside. The vast museum was closed to the public so that the Soviet leader and his party would be undisturbed.

The arrested youths were wearing facial masks representing a likeness of Brezhnev. A three hour vigil for Soviet Jews was held last night in the Mutualite Hall here. Several hundred signatures were collected within minutes on a petition demanding emigration rights for Soviet Jews. Students and faculty of schools throughout France announced they would hold a “day of solidarity” tomorrow with Soviet Jews. Prayer services for Soviet Jews were conducted today by the Chief Rabbinate of the Rhone-Alps area at Lyons.

Informed sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the Middle East views of Brezhnev and Pompidou are so nearly identical that they hardly mentioned the subject in their talks except to warn that the current situation could “endanger world peace” if allowed to continue. The sources said it was likely that France and Russia would ask for a resumption of the Four Power Middle East talks once the current American initiative has run its course. Both countries are convinced that the American initiative cannot succeed.

NEXT STORY