Menu JTA Search

Family of Soviet Jews Who Paid ‘ransom’ Arrive in Israel

The first family of Russian Jews to pay the new fees levied on immigrants educated at the expense of the Soviet State arrived here today. Tuvia Goldberg of Vilna, said he paid 3100 rubles, the equivalent of $3534, for a visa for his son Jacob, a second year engineering student at the university. Goldberg told reporters that the Russians gave him no receipt for the “ransom.” “They take the money and hand over the visa and that’s that,” he said.

According to Goldberg, many Jewish academicians are paying the exhorbitant “diploma tax.” He said a neighbor who is an engineer paid $11,400 for his visa. He is expected in Israel in a few days. Frank Gordon, a journalist who travelled on the plane with the immigrants from Vienna, said at least 15 families in Riga have already paid thousands of rubles for their visas.

Mrs. Rivka Kagan of Czernowitz said that 30-50 Jewish academicians and their families there had received permission to leave Russia but their visas were withheld pending payment of the fees. Meanwhile, they have lost their jobs and “they are penniless and sit in their valises with no hope of raising the huge sum of money demanded from them,” she said.

The desperation of some Jews was illustrated by Chaim Lipkin a 79-year-old shoemaker who arrived here from Leningrad earlier this month. He declared today that he was prepared to go to London to donate one of his kidneys to raise the $13,167 demanded by Soviet authorities for a visa for his son Vladimir, a construction engineer in Moscow, and his daughter-in-law, a bibliographer. Lipkin said his son has no money.

NEXT STORY