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Protest Against Exit Tax Coincides with Visit of Russian Scientists

October 19, 1972
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About 50 lawyers, engineers and scientists picketed the National Academy of Science here today to protest against the Soviet “diploma tax” demanded of educated Jews seeking to emigrate. The picketing was timed to coincide with the visit of Dr. M.V. Mstoslav Keldish, head of the Soviet Academy of Science and six Russian scientists who are on a six-week tour of US scientific installations.

While Dr. Keldish was in the building, a letter was hand delivered to Prof. Philip Handler, president of the National Academy of Science, from six Jewish scientists in Moscow who said they have been deprived of their jobs and denied exit visas.

The letter pleaded with Prof. Handler to intervene because his Soviet counterpart “has never spoken to any of us or answered any of our messages.” The letter was dictated by telephone from Moscow last night to Dr. David Korn, chairman of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington. Howard Lewis, director of information for the National Academy told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Prof. Handler had received the letter and “Intends to discuss the matter with Dr. Keldish.”

The letter from Moscow was signed by Profs. David A shell, Aleksander Lerner, Benjamin Levich, Boris Moisheson, Roman Rutman and Aleksander Voronel, Their letter stated that having been fired from their Jobs and forced to do manual labor, has “brought about our professional death.” The letter added, “Our situation is getting graver and graver each day.”

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