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Administration Assesses Downward Trend of Soviet Jewish Emigration

December 7, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Reagan Administration warned that if the present downward trend of immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union continues, the rate this year will be the lowest “since the Soviet Union began to permit significant Jewish emigration in the early 1970s.” The Administration also charged that along with this cut in emigration “Soviet authorities began a major crackdown on Jewish activists.”

The charges were contained in the President’s Eleventh Semi-Annual Report to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on the Implementation of the Helsinki Final Act. The report, which covers the period June I to Nov. 30, was transmitted last week by Secretary of State Alexander Haig for President Reagan to the Congressional commission headed by Rep. Dante Fascell (D. Fla.).

“Only 8,047 (Jews) have left in the first nine months of 1981, as compared to 17,734 during the same period in 1980 and 38,678 in the first nine months of 1979,” the report said. “Many Soviet Jews attribute this decline to the deterioration of East-West relations in the past several years and to Soviet reluctance to lose skilled manpower.”

The report said that potential emigrants, “Jewish applicants, especially,” have experienced difficulty in receiving the required letter of invitation from abroad needed to emigrate. The report noted that, in addition, Jewish sources estimate that more than 200,000 Soviet Jews already have the necessary letter from Israel. Some Jews have been waiting as long as eight years to emigrate.

The Presidential report noted that Max Kampelman, the chairman of the American delegation to the conference reviewing the Helsinki accord, has brought up all these violations during the spring session and when the conference reconvened in October in Madrid. In November, Kampelman raised the question of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who helped save 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis in World War II and who is believed to be in a Soviet prison since the end of the war. He was recently granted Ameri

can citizenship. The Presidential report also noted a reduction in the rate of emigration from Rumania. It said that during the first nine months of 1981, 677 Rumanian Jews left for Israel, as compared to 778 during the same period in 1980. Several hundred applicants have waited three months or more to emigrate, the report said, and some cases are several years old.

“The Rumanian authorities maintain Jewish emigration is static due to the dwindling Jewish population in Rumania, which they state is substantially made up of elderly people who are reluctant to emigrate,” the report said. “They point to the fact that several hundred thousand Jews have left Rumania since World War II, and only perhaps as few as 35,000 remain.”


In a section on Poland, the report noted that the small Jewish minority there “maintains its traditions” and that the “government has permitted emigration to Israel. The Warsaw synagogue has been renovated and restoration of many unkept Jewish cemeteries has been promised.”

But the report added that there is “one disturbing note” which” is the continuation of some previously reported anti-Semitism. The ultra-nationalistic Grunwald Patriotic Union, through its weekly publication, Reality, has led an isolated but sharp attack, blaming Polish Jews for everything of a tragic character which has occurred in Poland since 1945. The national Polish press on June 2 published a protest by the Social-Cultural Society of Jews in Poland against these anti-Semitic acts.”

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