Vigil in Support of Kiev 7

A vigil was staged today outside the telephone center at Grand Central Station in support of seven Kiev activists who were engaged in a hunger strike at the International Telegraph Exchange #1 in Kiev. Among those participating in the solidarity strike organized by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry were Mrs. Marvin Herskowitz, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kleinhaus and Mr. Gustave Weiss; all of whom met the Kiev activists during visits to the Soviet Union.

Repeated attempts during the past two days to reach the families of the activists at their homes and the hunger strikers at the telephone exchange failed. Throughout the vigil the attempts continued and contact was finally made with Zinovy Melamed. He reported that the strike had concluded but was reluctant to give details.

Yuli Tartakovsky, one of those engaged in the strike and the wife of Yuri Soroko, another striker, were called to the ovir office yesterday and told that their visa applications were refused and that they should not apply again until 1975, it was learned.

In addition to the all day vigil, thousands of cables were sent to Kiev officials from people throughout the New York area demanding that these and other Jews seeking to emigrate be permitted to do so.

“The situation in Kiev is particularly onerous and those on the hunger strike have been repeatedly denied permission and threatened with imprisonment,” Malcolm Hoenlein, director of the Conference, stated today. “Last week,” he continued, “Soviet Jews were beaten at the World University Games in front of journalists from around the world: one can only fear for what can happen to a small group of Jews Isolated in Kiev. Calls and messages of support are being sent to the families of the hunger strikers to assure them that we will not let them down.”

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