Nashpitz in Siberian Prison Camp
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Nashpitz in Siberian Prison Camp

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First word of the location of one of the newest Soviet Jewish prisoners of conscience–activist Mark Nashpitz–was secured last week in information brought from the Soviet Union by the Jewish Community Relations Council’s program assistant for Soviet Jewry. Eileen Sussman, Mrs. Sussman returned from the USSR and 16 days of meetings with leading activists in Moscow, Kiev and other Soviet cities. She learned that Nashpitz has been taken to a Siberian prison camp at Tupik, which means “dead end” in Russian.

Mrs. Sussman obtained details in a letter received from Nashpitz by Moscow activist Vladimir Slepak. The letter is believed to be the first news about Nashpitz’s location. Nashpitz was arrested Feb. 24 with activist Boris Tsitlionok in a demonstration in Moscow which caused no disruption. They were sentenced March 31 to five years in exile after being denied the right to testify in their own behalf.

In his letter to Slepak obtained by Mrs. Sussman, Nashpitz relates how he has been transferred from prison camp to prison camp since the trial. He said he has been in prisons in Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutz, Mogachevo and Tupik.

“All over, these prisons are overcrowded, and we’re given only bread and spoiled rusty herring.” Nashpitz wrote. “In the compartments that are big enough for four men, sit 22 men. There are quarrels and sometimes clothes are removed. Now I’m in Tupik. The name speaks for itself. That is why I ask you again and again to inform me what is happening,” Nashpitz said in a plea for letters from the outside.

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