Demonstrations demanding an end to the repression of Soviet Jewry took place in front of Soviet embassies and legations in more than 30 countries, from Finland to Costa Rica yesterday as thousands of students observed International Solidarity With Soviet Jews Day, organized by the World Union of Jewish Students. The extent of the demonstrations, which were joined by non-Jews as well as Jewish students, was reported today by Michael Hunter, world chairman of the Union. He said that the student bodies of 45 universities and colleges in England participated. Over 400 telegrams were addressed to the Soviet Embassy, to UN Secretary-General U Thant and to the Communist Party of Great Britain. Although the demonstrations were directed against the USSR, they were joined by left-wing societies and even some Communist student groups, Mr. Hunter said.
The reaction of Soviet officials varied. In London the Soviet press attache made an unprecedented television appearance in debate with one of the co-chairmen of the Inter-University Committee on Soviet Jewry, a sponsoring organization. He claimed that there is no discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union. But in Lausanne, Switzerland, Soviet officials stormed out of their legation to tear up placards carried by demonstrators declaring solidarity with Russian Jews. In Brussels, members of the rightist anti-Semitic group. “Occident,” threw a gasoline bomb at the building where a press conference was being held by the Belgian Commission for Human Rights and the Anti-Nazi Organization.
Jewish students demonstrated in front of the Soviet Embassy in the West German capital of Bonn yesterday. A delegation of five was admitted for a talk with the press attache, Alexander Bogomolow, who claimed that there was no discrimination in Russia against Jews as a nationality. The demonstration lasted several hours and was joined by about 100 students while crowds looked on from the sidelines. Participants were members of the Association of Jewish Students in Germany. Their placards demanded freedom for Soviet Jews and read, “Socialism yes, Racism, no.”
The purpose of the demonstrations, according to Mr. Hunter, was to “shatter the wall of silence surrounding the problem of Soviet Jewry.” He said the World Union of Jewish Students was moving its headquarters from Paris to London in protest against the French Government’s unfriendly attitude toward Israel.
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.