Menu JTA Search

Soviet-jewish Family on Hunger Strike in U.S. Britain, Siberia

Mark Yampolsky, 25-year-old Russian jazz drummer, joined in Washington yesterday the hunger strike his wife, Eleanora, began three days ago in London and which her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Isaac Poltinnikov, and her sister, Victoria, started six days ago in the Central Telephone Station in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

The five members of the family all are abstaining from food until the Poltinnikovs are permitted to leave for Israel. They began the strike after the death last Thursday of Eleanora’s grandfather, Boris Bernstein in Switzer land. The Yampolskys were permitted to emigrate to Israel in Nov.

Like his wife who is on strike opposite the Soviet Embassy in London, Mark started his protest across the street from the Soviet Embassy here where a daily vigil has been conducted by local Jews since Dec. 1970. The bareheaded Israeli hopes sympathizers will bring him blankets for resting at night on the concrete entrances to the Philip Murray building.

Moshe Borodetzky of the Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry, said that students from Washington area universities will help keep Yampolsky company.

Speaking fluent English he learned in Kiev, Yampolsky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that about 200 Jewish families in Kiev are awaiting visas to go to Israel “When they leave, 300 more families will ask for visas. That is the way it is there,” he said. Yampolsky said he was a student of mathematics when he left school to avoid military training. He became a jazz band drummer but he was barred from that work when he applied for a visa.

NEXT STORY