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Film on Soviet Jewry Premiere Attended by 1500 Dignitaries

Fifteen hundred dignitaries–religious, civic and political leaders and entertainment stars–attended last night’s gala premiere at the Criterion Theatre of “Escape to the Sun,” the first film dealing with Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate. The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, under the auspices of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, held a reception in the Monsanto Building after the movie. The chairman for the event was New York Conference chairman Stanley Lowell. Recent Soviet emigres Boris Koran and Michail (Misha) Neiburger were honored.

Producer-director Menahem Gold, who flew in from Israel for the premiere, expressed the hope in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the film would awaken world concern for Jews who wish to leave the Soviet Union. The crux of the story, he said, is endless waiting for visas, uncertainty clouding their daily activities and the barbaric and inhumane treatment behind prison bars, and tracking down of fugitives.

Associate producer Leon Charley, an American who returned from Israel two days ago, told of visiting an absorption center and meeting face to face with some who had managed to leave the Soviet Union. “The tales I heard would make strong men weep,” he told the JTA. He called “Escape to the Sun” a picture “which is basically truthful,” and which “deserves to be seen. It is cut from the pattern of anguished, tormented lives of Soviet Jews who cry out to America and the conscience of the world: Do not forget us.”

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