NEW YORK (Dec. 18)
Sixty Jews were arrested today in Moscow, according to a report by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Among those arrested were some of the leading activists. The arrests took place on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the USSR. More arrests are feared. Ten Jews were detained early this morning and an additional 50 were arrested later in the day.
The 50 arrested were staging a sit-in at the Supreme Soviet to protest the refusal by Soviet authorities to give exit visas and to appeal for amnesty for Soviet Jewish prisoners. After conducting the sit-in for several hours, they were forced out of the reception room, placed on a bus and taken away, the NCSJ reported. The demonstrators were from Leningrad, Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa, Novosibirsk and Riga. Among those arrested were Ilya Korenfeld and Victor Lapidus.
The 10 detained earlier included Boris Einbinder, Lev Libov, Boris Preston and Viktor Polski. It was not immediately known why the 10 were detained.
Commenting on the arrest of the 60 Jews, the largest number of arrests in one day, Richard Maass, NCSJ chairman said this action was similar to the mass arrests of Jewish activists just prior to President Nixon’s arrival in Moscow last May for his summit conference with Soviet leaders. “The arrests today,” Maass noted, “seem to be an effort by Soviet authorities to prevent Jewish activists from holding any demonstrations during the anniversary celebrations of the Soviet Republics.”
The NCSJ also reported that virtually all Moscow Jewish activists are under close surveillance and that in several instances police have visited the homes of leading activists.