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14 Nobel Laureates Denounce Head Tax

Fourteen Nobel Laureates have denounced the Soviet decree imposing a head tax on educated Jewish citizens who seek the right to leave the USSR, according to the Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry. The committee, which claims a membership of 6000 academicians representing 200 campuses in this country, reported that the Nobel Laureates signed a statement which condemned “the massive violation of human rights” implicit in the head tax policy “and its burdensome consequences for the scores of thousands of people who have openly expressed their desire to leave the USSR.”

The statement urged the Soviet authorities to rescind the head tax and to “accept fully and without hindrance everyone’s right to leave his country.” It noted that to infringe on the right to leave; on the right to an education and on the right to pursue one’s career where one chooses “is to transform educated persons into indentured servants.” The statement warned that the head tax decree can “only have a depressing effect on the possibility of expansion and enhancement of academic, cultural and scientific exchanges between the peoples of the United States and the Soviet Union.”

The 14 Nobel Laureates included Isidor Rabi, Columbia University, 1944 for physics; Polykarp Kusch, visiting professor, University of Texas, 1955 for physics; George Wald, Harvard University, 1967 for medicine; Julius Axelrod, National Institute of Mental Health, 1970 for medicine; and Paul A. Samuelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1970 for economics.

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