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Soviet Emigre Says USSR Forcing Jews into Biro Bidjan

December 8, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Russian Jew who settled here a year ago after spending 10 years in a Soviet jail claimed today that Soviet authorities are planning the forced mass evacuation of Jews in the USSR from their present homes to Biro Bidjan in Eastern Siberia. Avraham Shifrin said he learned of the plan from a “friendly Russian government official” who he quoted as saying. “For those who will not go to Biro Bidjan, there is enough room in our jails.” Biro Bidjan was established as an autonomous Jewish Republic by the Soviet government in the 1920s.

Shifrin is a member of Maoz, an activist group in Israel whose declared purpose is to organize world opinion to save Soviet Jewry. Maoz has designated Dec. 10 as a day of fasting to protest the treatment of political prisoners in the USSR. The Public Council for Soviet Jewry, another organization here, has dissociated itself from the fast and from Maoz. The Council says its struggle for Russian Jewry is humanitarian and national, not political.

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