Protest Staged Outside Aeroflot Office on Behalf of Sylva Zalmanson
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Protest Staged Outside Aeroflot Office on Behalf of Sylva Zalmanson

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A protest march was staged today outside the Manhattan office of Aeroflot, the Soviet airline, for 28-year-old Sylva Zalmanson Kuznetsov, the Soviet Jewish prisoner of conscience who has lost most of her hearing and sight and contracted tuberculosis in the Potma Labor camp. She was sentenced to a 10-year strict regime term during the first Leningrad trial in Oct. 1970.

Some 50 representatives of New York area Soviet Jewry groups marched in the protest, chanting “Fly Sylva to freedom.” A spokesman charged that her health had failed because of deliberate neglect by her jailers. Aeroflot employes locked the double doors of their street-level office as soon as the demonstration began. Many people in the lunch-hour crowd stopped to speak to the demonstrators.

An attempt was made to present a package of freeze-dried food to Aeroflot officials by Ira Bilus of the Oceanfront Council for Soviet Jews, Alex Friedman of the Queens Council for Soviet Jewry, Glenn Richter of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, and Malcolm Hoenlein of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. Despite repeated knocking, the Aeroflot office doors remained locked. The package had been prepared in the hope that Aeroflot officials might be persuaded to arrange shipment to the Potma camp.

A spokesman for the group said that if the Soviet Union wanted “millions of dollars of wheat from the United States,” it could “surely accept a small package of food for a suffering prisoner. The refusal of Aeroflot to accept our package shows again why a Jackson amendment is needed to force the Soviets to free their Jews.” The amendment would bar most-favored-nation trade status for the USSR until it makes a commitment to end harassment of Soviet Jews and other citizens seeking to emigrate.

Also participating in the demonstration were the Brooklyn Coalition for Soviet Jews, the Shellbank Council for Soviet Jews, the Long Island Committee for Soviet Jews and the International League for Soviet Jews.

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