Hunger Strike on Behalf of Nudel

A group of recent immigrants from the Soviet Union ended a three-day hunger strike today outside the Finnish Embassy here to protest the denial of an exit visa from the Soviet Union for Mrs. Ida Nudel, described as the “Florence Nightingale” of Jewish “prisoners of conscience” in the USSR. Finland has handled Soviet affairs in Israel since Moscow severed diplomatic relations in 1967.

The hunger-strikers said that Mrs. Nudel was the one person above all who helped maintain the morale of Jewish prisoners confined to Soviet jails and forced labor camps. She constantly helped with letters and parcels and, according to many former prisoners, was responsible for ending harassment and physical abuse by publicizing their plight to Western sources.

As a result of her activities, Mrs. Nudel has been repeatedly arrested, interrogated and threatened with reprisals including confinement to a mental institution, the strikers said. In one instance, when she went to a hospital for a check-up on a heart ailment, her chart indicated that she was being treated for alcoholism.

Mrs. Nudel, 44, was employed as an economist at the Moscow Institute for Economic Engineering. For the past four years her applications for an exit visa were denied by the Soviet authorities on grounds that she had access to confidential material. Her husband, Yuli Brind, arrived in Israel last April, and her sister, Elena Friedman, has been here for more than two years. They were among the hunger strikers, as was David Chernoglas, a former prisoner in the Soviet Union.

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