Soviet Jewish Emigration Hits All-time Monthly High of 6,756

More Jews emigrated from the Soviet Union in August than in any single month on record, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported Friday.

The tally was 6,756, of whom 793, or 11.7 percent, went to Israel, according to the NCSJ’s Soviet Research Bureau, which began tabulating emigration from the Soviet Union in 1968.

The previous monthly high was in October 1979, when 4,746 Jews departed. That year, Jewish emigration totaled 51,320, a figure that has not been matched in recent decades. Total Jewish emigration so far this year stands at 33,444.

This year’s second-highest monthly figure was 4,557, recorded in April.

“We welcome the August increase, which surpasses the previous month high for 1989 by more than 2,000,” Shoshana Cardin, NCSJ chair-woman, said in a statement. “This is a development of major significance.”

Cardin expressed hope that the upward trend will continue. However, she added, “While we rejoice for those who have been able to leave the Soviet Union, we remain mindful of the fact that capriciousness is still part of the Soviet emigration procedure.”

“For example, only last week, long-term refuseniks Igor, Inna and Slava Uspensky received official permission to emigrate, while Igor’s 77-year-old mother, a retired biologist, is still refused” because she lacks the requisite “security” clearances, Cardin said.

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