NEW YORK (Aug. 26)
Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, hailed the release of Silva Zalmanson.
Lowell said today that “it is hard to express the lilt of pleasure on hearing of Silva Zalmanson’s release. She has been the symbol of all the Jewish Prisoners of Conscience who are serving harsh sentences in Soviet labor camps only because of their desire to emigrate to Israel. Seriously ill as she has been, we are pleased that Soviet officials have chosen finally to release her, an action which the American Jewish community has repeatedly urged in the past. We hope that this is an omen of future positive action and that other Prisoners of Conscience will be joining Silva in freedom in the days ahead.”
Ms. Zalmanson, who was originally sentenced to 10 years in the first Leningrad trial of Dec. 1970, was released last Thursday after serving five of the 10 years. Her rapidly deteriorating health and the severity of her sentence was the focus of many protests in the West. It is believed that her release was granted purely for humanitarian reasons, Lowell said.
He added that “Soviet treatment of the other prisoners will be an index of their adherence to the general principals of detente and to their more specific interest in the Jackson legislation.” In an unrelated action, Shimon Grilius, also a POC, was released upon completion of his five-year sentence.