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Silva Zalmanson Reported Deteriorating Physically, Mentally; Almost Completely Deaf

August 9, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Silva Zalmanson Kuznetsov, sentenced in Leningrad last December to 10 years for an alleged skyjacking attempt, has become “almost totally deaf” in one ear and is “deteriorating physically and mentally,” it was reported here at a press conference sponsored by the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry. The report was made by Moses I. Feuerstein, vice president of Malden (Mass.) Knitting Mills since 1938 and president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America from 1954 to 1966. He toured the Soviet Union for 17 days last month, visiting such cities as Kiev, Kishinev, Yalta, Tbilisi, Riga and Moscow. He did not see Mrs. Kuznetsov, who is in Potma prison in central Mordovia, but obtained his information from Soviet sources. Feuerstein said the 27-year-old engineer is said to believe that she can survive under her current conditions for “only a few years at the most,” not the more than nine years remaining on her term.

“To sentence a young person to a prison term of 10 years for a crime that was never committed is really inhumane,” Feuerstein said. “Somehow or the other the Soviet government must come to realize that prison terms must be more reasonable.” The businessman also charged Soviet postal officials with delaying emigration affidavits from Israel “in violation of the international postal agreement,” to which the USSR is a signatory. There is “great unhappiness” among Soviet Jews over the post office’s “refusal” to deliver those necessary affidavits, he said. He also protested delays in approving exit visas for “months and sometimes years,” and urged appeals to the Kremlin “to correct this condition.” He concluded: “The cruelty involved in this uncertainty is what drives most of the young people (of the Soviet Jewish community) to the final alternative of demonstrating for their rights.” The press conference was conducted Thursday afternoon.

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