Soviet refusenik documents available online

MOSCOW (JTA) — A new Internet device allows scholars and the public to search an index of the comprehensive archive of the American Soviet Jewry movement.

The American Jewish Historical Society has organized more than 30 years worth of records, testimonials and other material documenting the efforts of refuseniks, Soviet-era dissidents who fled the region and sought to influence policy from outside their home country.

The index, which represents the culmination of a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is aimed at helping to identify records useful to searchers. Material still can only be read at the archive, though posters and some audio can be accessed online.

The project is culled mainly from the operating records of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, an advocacy group that is still working as NCSJ to influence policy affecting Jews in the Soviet sphere and in the Diaspora.

The index also lists individual files on refuseniks, prisoners of conscience and Jewish emigres.

The historical society is still accepting materials in the form of a Memory Bank where participants can share their recollections.

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