Jewish Scientists and Secrets

The KGB is going all out to disrupt an international seminar organised by Jewish scientists in Moscow. Last week, well-known scientists, including Grigory Rosenshtein and Victor Brailovsky, received army call up papers. This would remove them from Moscow during the first week of July, when the seminar is due to take place. It could also give them access to so-called military secrets, making their departure for Israel even more remote.

On Friday, another two young scientists, biochemist Alex Goldfarb and systems analyst Vladimir Lerner, were ordered to report to their local conscription office. Together with others, they refused and left town.

Meanwhile, the KGB was smearing the seminar as a deliberate provocation since it will coincide with the visit of President Nixon.

A statement issued by the organising committee under the signature of Professor Mark Azbel pointed out that the seminar was purely a scientific affair and had nothing to do with politics.

On Saturday, one of the chief organisers, Professor Alexander Voronel, was arrested by the KGB as he queued for bread. During a day long interrogation by a colonel of the KGB, he was warned that if he went ahead with the seminar he would be charged with “anti-Soviet agitation” and would spend years in a strict regime labour camp.

The KGB officer told him that the seminar was “illegal”. Furthermore no visas would be granted to foreign scientists wishing to participate in the seminar. After his release, Voronel stated his intentions to continue with the seminar plans.

Today (Friday), a 48-hour hunger strike is due to take place in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad, to mark the anniversary of the abortive attempt to steal an aircraft by Edward Kuznetsov, Silva Zalmanson, and their friends. The attempt led to the famous Leningrad Trials. In Leningrad, hunger strikers will include the wives of the Jewish prisoners Mark Dymshits and Vladimir Mogilever.

Hunger strikes have been planned to mark President-Nixon’s arrival in the USSR. In Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, Isai and Grigory Goldshtein will begin a ten-day fast next Monday until the day of Nixon’s arrival. In Moscow, Emanuel and Alla Smelianskya plan to begin a hunger strike on June 27. So will four Jewish Colonels in Minsk — Yefim Davidovich, Naum Alshansky, Lev Ovsishcher and Aron Zevin.

Jewish Observer 14 June 1974

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