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Report Potma Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today that nine Jewish prisoners at the Potma labor camp went on a hunger strike June 15 in support of a series of demands which included a review of their sentences and transfer to a different camp, according to the National Conference for Soviet Jewry. June 15 marked the second anniversary of the mass arrests of Russian Jews in Leningrad and other cities which led to the Leningrad hijack trial of Dec. 1970.

The sources did not indicate how long the hunger strike lasted or whether it was still going on. The prisoners on the hunger strike were identified as Semeon Levit; David Chernoglaz; Shlomo Dreizner; Wolf and Israel Zalmanson; Hillel Shur; Yosif Mendelevich; Lazar Trachtenberg; and Judah Mogilever. Trachtenberg, Shur and Levit were arrested in Aug., Sept. and Nov. 1970. The rest were arrested on June 15, 1970.

The hunger strikers appealed to the Red Cross to send a representative to Potma to investigate conditions. They also demanded the right to renounce their Soviet citizenship and to be transferred to a camp for foreign citizens because they “don’t want to live with Nazis,” the sources reported.

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