The Struggle of Intellectual and Professional Soviet Jews

The drop of nearly 40% in the number of Soviet Jews being permitted to emigrate to Israel has brought to the forefront of the struggle many prominent intellectuals and professionals.

In Kishinev, Professor Israel Gohkberg, an internationally known mathematician, has just been refused an exit visa on the grounds that he would take with him not only his own knowledge, but that of his collaborators, pupils and teachers.

Gohkberg who received the refusal in hospital where he is recovering from a mild heart attack, is a corresponding member of the Moldavian Academy of Sciences and all of his work and that of his colleagues have been published quite openly.

In Moscow two Jews connected with the Soviet film industry have been victimised because they had applied to leave for Israel. Felix Kandel-Kamov, a scriptwriter, was working on the film “Wait a Little”. However when the film was shown in a Moscow cinema on March 10, Kandel-Kamov’s name did not appear on the credits.

Mikhail Suslov also found his name missing from films that he had worked on as soon as he sub mitted his application to leave for Israel.

Edward Boldiansky, a viola-player in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, was refused an exit permit because of the material situation of his parents-in-law. This followed a court case in which the parents were denied a financial claim against their children.

the judge thought that because the parents received 300 roubles a month, it was not necessary to extract further money from Boldiansky and his wife. the emigration authorities did not take this point of viewand offered it as a suitable reason not to give them the exit permit for Israel.

Another man with parent trouble is 45 years old Moscow librarian Leonid Zisman. he was refused two weeks ago because his aged parents refuse to consent.

Perhaps the most interesting case in recent weeks is that of Ilya Essas who was expelled from the yeshiva adjoining the Moscow Synagogue because he had applied to leave for Israel with his wife and child. the yeshiva is supposed to train Jewish religious leaders. But in practice little is done and many religious Jews have been driven to the conclusion that they can only fulfil themselves in Israel.

Essas applied for an exit permit last summer, but did not tell the synagogue authorities about his application. After his request to leave had been turned down, he was among more than 70 refuseniks  arrested in March 1 while making their way to the building of the Communist Party headquarters.

Jerusalem Post 19 April 1974

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