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60,000 People Sign Petitions Asking Brezhnev to Let Soviet Jews Emigrate

January 29, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev has been told by close to 60,000 people in the Delaware Valley to let the Jews in the Soviet Union go,” reported Lana Dishler and Harold Levine, co-chairpersons of the Soviet Jewry Council of the Jewish Community Relations Council, as they announced the conclusion of the Soviet Jewry petition campaign.

“It was just two months ago that the ‘Tell Brezhnev’ petition campaign got underway in the Greater Philadelphia area as part of an intensive international effort to collect one million signatures,” Mrs. Dishler and Levine said.

The petitions collected locally have been sent to the presidium of the World Conference on Soviet Jewry which is meeting in Washington. At the meeting a determination is to be made as to how they should be presented to Brezhnev. With Jewish emigration from the USSR at its lowest point in 10 years, the petitions call for the release of Jews who want to leave the Soviet Union, the end of harassment of Jews who have applied to emigrate, and the release of Prisoners of Conscience sent to labor camps, prisons and exile solely because of their desire to emigrate.

The nearly 60,000 petitions forwarded to Washington include the signatures of Governor and Mrs. Dick Thornburgh, Rep. Lawrence Coughlin (R. Pa.), the members of the Philadelphia City Council, and Philadelphia District Attorney Edward Rendell and his staff.

Theodore Mann, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, acknowledge the Greater Philadelphia total saying, “The generous support of the people of Philadelphia for this crucial, life-saving campaign is extremely gratifying and a significant step towards our goal of one million signatures. Once again this community has demonstrated its deep concern for the suppressed Jews in the Soviet Union, and it is our hope that these petitions, combined with others from all parts of the world, will influence the fate of Soviet Jewry.”

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