LONDON (Jun. 8)
Two much decorated Jewish war heroes of the Soviet Union who were stripped of their rank and deprived of their pensions because they applied for visas to emigrate to Israel, have appealed to World War II veterans in other countries that fought the Nazis to intervene on behalf of their emigration rights.
The appeal, addressed to veterans in the U.S., Britain, France and Israel was signed by Col. (ret.) Efim Davidovich and Col. Lev Ovsicher on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Col. Davidovich holds 15 Soviet medals and orders for bravery in combat and was wounded five times in action against the Germans. Col. Ovsicher, also the recipient of many decorations, was wounded in an air battle over Stalingrad. Still unretired, he was demoted to the ranks and, like Davidovich, lost his pension,
That two war heroes wrote they were now “waging a struggle against anti-Semitism and for the right of free emigration…and for this we are subjected to gruelling persecution on the part of the KGB,” the Soviet secret police. Addressing their fellow veterans abroad, they said, “Your uncompromising, honest and courageous struggle with the darkest forces of reaction was effective. Blood was not shed in vain. As a result of the victory (in World War II) mankind has been able to breath freely once again.”