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Jewish Families Granted Exit Visas Without Paying Education Head Tax

Reports from Moscow today indicated that a number of Jewish families have been granted exit visas Without paying the education head tax to which they were previously subjected. One Jewish source reported that 19 families were told today that they would not have to pay a collective visa fee amounting to some $300,000, provided that they leave the Soviet Union by Oct. 28. The same source said that six other families were told that they would lose their visas if they did not pay fees aggregating $200,000 by Nov. 6.

According to another source, 19 Jewish families have been granted exit visas hitherto refused them by Soviet authorities. At least six of those families had been refused visas earlier because they were unable to raise the fees that amounted collectively to $200,000. The sources said all the families had applied for visas before the tax was Instituted last Aug. 3. The sources noted that In the past the visa tax was made retroactive to all applicants. According to the sources, the development indicated that Soviet authorities may be redefining some of their visa policies.

Both sources reported that the visa grants were made following a private meeting between 10 Jewish intellectuals in Moscow and Western newsmen. The Jews insisted that the “ransom” fees were still in effect and that educated Jews were compelled to pay if they wanted to leave, the sources reported.

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