NEW YORK (May. 13)
The Soviet secret police (KGB) has told 50 Russian Jews that they would receive exit visas if they signed confessions implicating Col. Efim Davidovich, who is under criminal investigation in Minsk on charges of anti-Soviet propaganda and concealment of a secret weapon, the American Jewish Congress said it learned Friday in a telephone conversation with a leading Moscow activist.
The Jewish source reported that the 50 Jews are being investigated by the KGB. They had been told, the source disclosed, that refusal to cooperate in implicating Davidovich would result in their being brought to trial along with the retired Army colonel. Davidovich applied for a visa last fall and the KGB investigation began soon afterwards. Since that time, it was reported, he has suffered four heart attacks and his physical condition is poor. His trial is expected in Sept. the AJ Congress reported. The charges against him carry a minimum term of 6 months to a maximum of seven years.
The source also said that no exit visas have been granted to Jews by the Moscow ovir during the last 10 days. It was also learned that the Goldstein brothers, who were arrested and later released earlier this year, are now under criminal investigation, as is Yefim Krischevsky of Leningrad, the AJ Congress reported.
Earlier the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported that the third.round of the investigations in Minsk of Davidovich, Lev Ovsishcher Mikhail Matzsitz, Grigory Levin and Grigory Peller, were completed at the end of last week. The four are being charged with anti-Soviet propaganda. The NCSJ also reported that the KGB recently dispatched some of its workers from Minsk to Riga to interrogate activists there in an attempt to prove the existence of a nation-wide Jewish network.
Meanwhile, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry reported that of the 130 Jews assembled May 9 in a Moscow park to celebrate Israel’s 25th anniversary 30 were children. A SSSJ spokesman said this was “very unusual because activists do not normally bring young children with them for rallies or demonstrations.” Eleven of the 130 Jews remained in the park overnight and at 5 a.m. the next morning were arrested by militia, the SSSJ-reported. They were held in jail for six hours and released. The legal ground for the arrests were not immediately known.