Jewish Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Struggle of Soviet Jewry
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Struggle of Soviet Jewry

Download PDF for this date

Newly elected officers of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle of Soviet Jewry, in a statement issued yesterday at Independence Hall. The statement read by Stanley H, Lowell, re-elected chairman of the NCSJ, in the ceremony witnessed by hundreds of Jewish community leaders from across the United States, pointed out, “Today in our Bicentennial Year, our brothers and sisters in the Soviet Union are continually dented their rights; their lives subject to constant harassment, surveillance and discrimination from the Soviet authorities.”

Noting that these actions are violations of numerous international agreements the Soviet Union has signed, most recently the Helsinki Agreement, Lowell continued: “As long as Soviet Jews are denied their right to emigrate, to enjoy full religious and cultural facilities and are subject to severe repression by the Soviet authorities, we pledge ourselves to support their struggle, to demand their human rights and to raise our united voice against injustice,” The ceremony followed the NCSJ’s Board of Governors meeting at the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia.


Even as the ceremony was taking place, reports from Moscow stated that Ernst Neizvesty one of the Soviet Union’s best-known graphic artists and sculptors, appealed to President Nikolai Podgorny for permission to emigrate to Israel. The artist, who won worldwide attention in 1962 when he publicly quarreled with Nikita Khrushchev over modern art, asked for Kremlin intervention to halt harassment directed against him and to end what he termed his “enforced detention” in the USSR.

Neizvesty, who has been in official disfavor for many years, said he sent his appeal after a second refusal this year for permission to emigrate. Earlier this year he said he was told by officials he could not leave because he had not divorced his wife. Now, he told Western reporters yesterday, officials had told him he could not leave because he had two aged parents. When he appealed to emigrate last March he was expelled from the artists’ union and from his official workshop. He told reporters that his wife and his mother and father had approved his request to emigrate.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund