Soviet Police Prevent Jewish Scientists from Holding Seminar
Menu JTA Search

Soviet Police Prevent Jewish Scientists from Holding Seminar

Download PDF for this date

The Soviet secret police prevented a group of 18 dismissed Jewish scientists from holding their weekly seminar at the Moscow apartment of their colleague. Prof. Aleksandr V. Voronel. When they arrived at the flat, they found the lock had been changed by the KGB while Prof. Voronel was out of town and the key he had given them was useless. The group was ordered to leave by a militia captain who appeared at the flat, Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today.

The scientists, including Voronel, were all fired from their positions at academic and research institutions after applying for visas to emigrate to Israel. They organized the weekly seminars to keep up with scientific developments in their fields. The seminars were sharply denounced yesterday by Tass, the official Soviet news agency, as “anti-Soviet activities camouflaged as science.” Tass also warned Western scientists “caught in the mesh of Zionist propaganda” against lending-support to the seminars. Jewish sources were unable to explain why Tass suddenly launched an attack on the seminars.


Nine Jewish activists in Kiev have sent separate messages to Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev protesting their denial of exit visas. The message to Brezhnev said, “We have applied to many and varied official departments on numerous occasions in an effort to achieve our desire to emigrate to our historical motherland, Israel. However, the Kiev authorities refuse to consider our desires or our rights, thereby ignoring the Soviet Constitution.”

The message charged that because they had applied for visas, the writers were dismissed from their jobs, had their telephones cut off, were frequently arrested and subjected to interrogation, threats and beatings by police who have gone unpunished.


Meanwhile, more than 100 Soviet Jews in five cities have appealed-directly to President Ford to intercede on behalf of Victor Polsky, a Jewish physicist facing trial in Moscow on charges of reckless driving. Polsky, who lost his job after applying for an exit visa to go to Israel, has been accused of injuring a young woman struck by his car last March and could be sentenced to up to three years’ imprisonment if convicted.

Jewish sources say the charges against Polsky were fabricated after the young woman threw herself in front of his car in a suicide attempt. The appeal to Ford charged that Polsky was being prosecuted to intimidate other Jews against applying for exit visas.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund