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Homes of Five Soviet Jewish Scientists Raided by Secret Police

The homes of at least five Jewish scientists planning a symposium next month on Jewish culture in the Soviet Union were raided by Soviet secret police, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry reported today.

The sponsors of the Dec. 21 – 23 symposium had issued a world-wide appeal to Jewish scholars in other countries to come to Moscow to participate in the symposium, as invitation which the Association of Jewish Studies in the United States had accepted. An American Academic Committee for the Moscow Conference was formed to support the goals of the symposium and delegated four American Jewish scholars to participate.

Marvin Herzog of Columbia University, Jacob Neusner of Brown University, Baruch Levine of New York University and Marshall Sklare of Brandeis, have applied for visas to make the visit.

Among those Moscow activists whose homes were searched and documents confiscated, the NCSJ reported, were Benjamin Fain, scheduled to head the symposium, Leonid Volvolsky. Vladimir Prestin, Pavel Abramovich, and Josif Begun. The NCSJ said Moscow informants had indicated that the search and seizure operation “is an effort to intimidate the group and to destroy any free discussion about Jewish culture in the Soviet Union.”

The SSSJ said Anya Essas was warned by the Soviet secret agents that her husband, Ilya, a leading refusenik, should stop his Jewish organizing efforts or face prison for “a few years” for “anti-Soviet activity.”

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