On Wednesday, Feliks Abramovich, son of the Soviet Union’s longest-waiting refusenik, Pavel Abramovich, told a news conference at Women’s American ORT here, “I don’t know if I’ll ever see my parents again.”
Thursday morning, a little after 5:00, Feliks received a phone call from the National Conference on Soviet Jewry: His parents had received word that they would be getting permission to emigrate.
Abramovich and several long-waiting refuseniks received phone calls indicating they would be getting permission to leave the Soviet Union. Among the others were Aleksander, Rosa and Anna Ioffe, and the extended Bialy family: Leonid Bialy; his wife, Judith Ratner Bialy; their son, Misha; Misha’s wife, Miriam; Miriam’s parents, Viktor and Maya Fulmakht; and another daughter of the Fulmakhts, 12-year-old Rena.
The way was also cleared Thursday for the emigration of the family of Aleksander Kholmiansky, whose wife, Anna, received a waiver of financial obligation from her father only last month.
Although the Moscow OVIR emigration office has not yet officially confirmed the permissions, Soviet authorities in Moscow have already informed visiting Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke that Abramovich and Ioffe are being permitted to emigrate.
Hawke, who met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as well as the refuseniks during his Moscow visit, informed the families they would be allowed to leave before the end of the year. Hawke made the announcement publicly when he arrived in Tokyo later in the day.
Abramovich and Ioffe were recently told by OVIR that their security classifications would bar them from receiving exit visas for an indeterminate number of years. The NCSJ informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the refuseniks were going to the OVIR office to formalize their permissions.
Ioffe’s son, Dimitry, was permitted to immigrate to Israel earlier this year after Aleksander Ioffe staged a hunger strike and drew widespread media attention.
Aleksander Ioffe was a professor of mathematics who left his job in order to avoid visa refusal because of exposure to classified documents. He is internationally prominent in the field of calculus variations and control theories. Rosa Ioffe is a physicist, and a member of the Women’s Liberation Group in Moscow.
Aleksander Ioffe was an active participant in the scientific seminars that Viktor Brailovsky held in Moscow. Brailovsky received permission to emigrate in September and is now in Israel. His wife, Irina, and daughter, Dahlia, were present at the same news conference where Feliks Abramovich spoke Wednesday about the issue of state secrets. Dahlia will be celebrating her bat mitzvah Saturday with her American “twin,” Jill Goldsmith.
Pavel Abramovich, 48, a radio electronics engineer, was first refused permission to emigrate in 1971 on grounds of “state secrecy.” He is the author of two journals of articles on the issue of “state secrets.”
Abramovich organized a seminar on “secrecy” last month that attracted over 100 refuseniks and international journalists. His son, Feliks, received permission to emigrate recently and is now living in Tel Aviv, with plans to enter the Haifa Technion in March.
On Tuesday, Soviet emigres testified at a hearing of Senators for Soviet Jewry about the three-generation Bialy family, who a week and a half ago had received their 14th refusal.
The speakers — Leon Charny and his niece Anna Charny Blank, brother and daughter of ailing refusenik Benjamin Charny, and Vladimir Bravve, widower of cancer victim Rimma Bravve–purposely chose the Bialy family to focus on because of the juxtaposition of the Bialys’ most recent refusal and next week’s summit meeting between Gorbachev and President Reagan.
Commenting on the wave of permissions, an NCSJ spokesperson noted that “While welcome, such individual gestures, even to the Australian prime minister, do not satisfy the need for a radical improvement in emigration procedures. This continuing violation of the rights of Soviet Jews is one of the primary reasons why we are demonstrating in Washington, D.C. on Summit Sunday, Dec. 6.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.