Phones to 4 Moscow Sites of Seminars out of Order Monday
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Phones to 4 Moscow Sites of Seminars out of Order Monday

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Soviet Jewry activists in the U.S. were unable to complete prearranged telephone calls to four Moscow apartments Monday in connection with seminars held by Jewish refuseniks to commemorate International Children’s Day.

Moscow operators told the callers that the lines were “out of order.” They later told American operators, “don’t even bother to place those calls,” according to the Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry (LICSJ).

Inability to place these calls was reported throughout the United States and Toronto by the LICSJ, the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ).

Soviet emigre Leonard Terlitsky, representing UCSJ, called from an apartment here to that of Silvia and Yuri Piskin (incorrectly spelled “Fiskin” in the May 29 Daily News Bulletin), where his 70-year-old mother, Fanya, was planning to attend a seminar for parents of Soviet emigres. Unable to get through from 7-11 a.m., he called his brother, Mark, in Moscow.

Mark repeatedly tried to phone two of the apartments, but got only a continuous ring, as though no one were home. Yet, he knew that his wife Svetlana and daughter Olga had gone to two of the seminars.

Also unable to get through, LICSJ executive director Lynn Singer called the Leningrad apartment of refusenik Leah Shapira, where 10 refusenik women were meeting in support of the Moscow seminars, and asked them to call the Moscow apartments. There was no word at press time if they succeeded.


Terlitsky said Soviet Jews perceive a general “turning against” the policy of “glasnost” (openness). Singer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, present at the Terlitsky calls, that “the portents of this are extremely serious. It shows that the Black Hundreds are cracking down.”

That long dormant name refers to the Pamyaks, who inflicted pogroms on the Jews of Russia in the early 20th century. It now is applied by Soviet Jewish activists to a new organization, the Memory Society, whose impact Singer feels is contributing to an upsurge of Soviet anti-Semitism.

Terlitsky explained that the nationalistic, openly anti-Semitic society, which has surfaced in the last 10 years, has been allowed to “come out of the dark corners” recently. Two weeks ago, the society held a rally near the Kremlin, and it has been allowed to meet openly in Moscow with Boris Yeltsin, chief of the Communist Party there.

The society also publishes literature blaming Jews for all “the ills of the Soviet Union,” Singer said.

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