Concern About Soviet Jews
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Concern About Soviet Jews

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The board of directors of the Writers Guild of America, West, have sent a letter to the Soviet Union expressing “dismay” and “concern” that three Soviet writers have not been permitted to emigrate or to work. The three are Felix Kamov-Kandel, 32, the creator of movie cartoons; Yevgeny Baras, 29, a journalist, film critic and script writer; and Arkady Polishchuk, 46, journalist and script writer. All first applied in 1973 for exit visas.

In a letter to the heads of the Central Committee on Ideology and the State Committee on Cinematography in the USSR, the Guild board expressed concern that the rights of the three writers are not being protected. The letter noted that during the McCarthy period many writers “were forced to fight very hard to recover our rights and none of this is nor will be forgotten by us. We feel that we must raise our voices in protest whenever or wherever our fellow writers are similarly treated.”


Meanwhile, in New York City, City Council President Paul O’Dwyer, Human Rights Commissioner Eleanor Homes Norton and the five Borough presidents each sent a telegram to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev asking him to grant amnesty to the Jewish Prisoners of Conscience on his 70th birthday which was last week.

Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry which sponsored the appeal, said that “the welcome support of New York’s principal municipal officials for the freedom of Soviet Jews is evidence of the deep sense of outrage felt by all New Yorkers over the denial of free emigration to Soviet Jews as well as the incarceration of some of the bravest of those struggling to be free.”

In Boston, a score of Jewish and non-Jewish community leaders sent telegrams to Brezhnev protesting the curtailment last week of the symposium on Jewish culture in Moscow and the arrest and detention of its sponsors in violation of the Helsinki accords. The campaign was coordinated by the Jewish Community Council with the cooperation of the Jewish Labor Committee.

In a related action, the Valley Young Republican Club of Phoenix, Arizona, has sent a letter to Aleksander Roisman in Novosibirsk stating that the organization will use “every means at our disposal” to help Roisman, his wife, and their two sons to obtain an emigration visa to Israel. Roisman, 47, considered the leader of the activists in Novosibirsk, has been seeking a visa since 1970.

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