NEW YORK (Sep. 20)
Stating that “we are witnessing the contemporary form of a new ‘final solution’ of the Jewish people in the USSR, a non-physical genocide,” the Center for Russian Jewry and Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry have asked President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz to raise the KGB’s campaign against unofficial Jewish teachers in their upcoming meetings with Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, as well as Soviet Jews’ appeals for “repatriation” to Israel.
In letters hand-delivered to the White House and State Department, the two Soviet Jewry groups pointed out that “having terminated emigration, the Soviets are now further accelerating their attacks on the last lifeline of Jewish survival, the small Jewish self-study groups and their teachers.”
In recent weeks four Jewish religious/cultural personalities in Moscow and Odessa have been arrested, the groups noted. The four are Yuli Edelstein, Yakov Gorodetsky, Alexander Kholmyansky and Yakov Levin. The two groups stated that the KGB had planted a gun in Kholymansky’s apartment and drugs in Edelstein’s apartment. This “ominous development” follows “the savage 12-year sentence imposed last October on the distinguished Jewish culturalist Dr. Yosif Begun,” the group’s letter pointed out.
URGE ‘COMPREHENSIVE RESOLUTION’ OF THE ISSUE
The two Soviet Jewry groups urged direct Washington-Moscow negotiations for “a comprehensive resolution” of the Soviet Jewry issue, including emigration of the principle of non-harassment of the unofficial Jewish study groups.”
Meanwhile, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry reported that 18 Jews in three Soviet cities sent an open letter to Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko pointedly declaring that “we, as many other Jews, are very worried by the current worsening of persecutions aimed at frightening us and curbing the movement for repatriation to Israel.”
The open letter which, according to the Student Struggle, came after the arrests of the unofficial Jewish teachers stated that this, the hardening of the prison conditions for POCs, and the anti-Jewish drumbeat in the Soviet media “prove to us that Jewish life in the USSR, a multi-national country, is no longer possible.”