WASHINGTON (Jun. 13)
The American Jewish community and its supporters will mark “Freedom Week” for Soviet Jewry, also known as “Brezhnev Week,” with demonstrations in major cities from coast to coast. The first will be the “National Freedom Assembly” Washington this Sunday, the day before Communist Party Secretary Leonid T. Brezhnev’s visit to the U.S. officially begins.
The Washington demonstration is expected to attract 10-15,000 persons. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. on the Capitol steps with a series of speeches. From there the crowd will move to the Washington Monument grounds about a mile away The marchers will carry a half dozen Torahs draped with chains, a 20-foot mock-up of a jail cell and an eight-foot square gate marked “Closed to Soviet Jewry.” Those objects will symbolize Soviet oppression of the Jewish faith, the punishment of Jews wishing to emigrate and the bar to free emigration, organizers of the Freedom Assembly said.
Theodore Bikel, vice-president of the American Jewish Congress will preside at the program which is sponsored by the National Conference for Soviet Jewry with the assistance of the Washington Jewish Community Council. Speakers will include Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.); Clive Barnes, drama critic of the NY Times; Richard Maass, chairman of the NCSJ; Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; representatives of the AFL-CIO, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the National Council of Churches.
In addition to the Sunday program, the vigil held daily across the street from the Soviet Embassy here will be extended from one hour to eight hours–10 a.m. -6 p.m. The vigil is now in its third year.