Mail to Soviet Refusniks Intercepted
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Mail to Soviet Refusniks Intercepted

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Members of the Dallas Jewish community who have been regularly writing to refusniks in the Soviet Union have recently received letters that indicate their mail to the refusniks has been intercepted by Soviet authorities. According to a spokesman for the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) in New York, the letters to the Dallas writers are part of an “orchestrated letter-writing campaign” in the Soviet Union.

Leo Loufer and his family, of Dallas, shared with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency several letters bearing Tbilisi (Soviet Georgia) postmarks and sent to them special delivery, return receipt requested. The Laufess have been writing regularly to Tbilisi refusnik Isai Goldstein.

Although the letters from the USSR are not identical, they all carry the message that the United States is supposedly greatly concerned about human rights, but a former. Nazi is representing the U.S. in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The NCSJ has confirmed that other people throughout the U.S. who have written to refusniks or have travelled to the USSR have received similar letters. The NCSJ has asked that anyone receiving such a letter contact them at 10 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10036.

LETTERS REFER TO VARVARIV

The UNESCO representative referred to in the letters is identified as Konstantin Varvariv who, one letter claims, “took part in the execution of 17,000 Jews in Rovno.” According to another letter, “In 1941 to 1944 he (Varvariv) served as a Nazi and was seen in the black uniform in the city of Rovno. He, himself, shot more than one dozen Soviet citizens, and took part in the execution of 17,000 Jews.” The letters refer to an article in the Oct. 24 issue of “Komsomolska Pravda” which was entitled, “Fighter for Human Rights From Gestapo.”

The Soviet allegation that Varvariv was involved in this atrocity had been circulated as early as last July in a press review issued by the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. The Soviet report said Varvariv was identified as a Nazi accomplice” when he attended a UNESCO conference in 1977 as a U.S. delegation member.

However, in a letter dated Oct. 27, Undersecretary of State Ben Read wrote to Varvariv that “the Department’s investigation found no evidence whatsoever to support the allegations and charges against you” and that” the Department reaffirms the confidence in your loyalty and character as represented initially by your commissioning as a foreign service officer of the United States.”

Nevertheless, a spokesman for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, which is investigating alleged Nazis who entered the U.S., said last November that the case was not closed. This status is still in effect. Varvariv emigrated to the U.S. under the Displaced Persons Act from Germany in 1948 and joined the State Department in 1962.

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