NEW YORK (Aug. 31)
While the number of the Soviet Jewish Prisoners of Conscience increased during the summer of 1978, reports from the USSR indicate that many of those who have been imprisoned since as far back as 1970, are suffering severe physical ailments due to the primitive prison conditions in the Soviet gulag.
Reports reaching the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), indicate that POCs Hillel Butman, Wulf Zalmanson, Leib Knokh, Boris Penson, Eduad Kuznetsov, and Anatoly Altman, are suffering from severe digestive and heart disorders, due to the lack of nourishment in their diets, as well as cardio-vascular difficulties due to the harsh prison regime.
At the same time it was learned that the mother of POC Iosif Mendelevich was refused a visit with her son, prior to taking her husband’s coffin to Israel. Prison officials claimed that as she no longer had Soviet documents, “the relationship could not be proven.” The NCSJ Soviet Jewry Research Bureau reports that 23 POCs are now incarcerated in Soviet prison camps and/or in exile.