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Retaliations Against Jewish Prisoners

Soviet authorities have taken retaliatory action against Jews in prison camps who went on hunger strikes beginning Dec. 24 to protest the Leningrad trials held last year, it was reported today by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Camp authorities in the Potma prison complex have forbidden Jewish prisoners to visit with each other and to study Hebrew. Prisoners Shlomo Drezner, Israel Zalmanson and Viktor Boguslavsky were denied the right of visits by relatives for the next 6 months. All this, it was learned, is part of a “get tough” policy toward the prisoners.

Major Sorkin, a warden of Camp 19 in Potma, publicly stated that it is necessary to fight against “Zionist groups.” His announcement heightened anti-Semitic feelings among non-Jewish prisoners and caused a worsening in the situation of the Jewish prisoners. As a result, nine prisoners of Camp 19–Viktor Boguslavsky. Lev Yagman. Anatoly Goldfeld, Anatoly Altman, Boris Penson, Mikhail Shepshilovich, Yuri Vudka, Harry Kirshner and Aleksandr Galperin–decided to continue their hunger strike that was to have ended Dec. 27.

Anti-Semitic outbursts also occurred in Camp 3 which houses prisoners David Chernoglaz, Shlomo Drezner, Semyon Levit and Vladimir Mogilever. In Camp 10, it was learned, correspondence with prisoners has been confiscated by the authorities for the last two months. In releasing the information about the prisoners, Richard Maass, chairman of the NCSJ, condemned the retaliatory action by Soviet authorities against the prisoners “who went on a hunger strike to dramatize their solidarity and their discontent with prison conditions, including some instances of outright harassment.”

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