The Serbsky Institute

An elderly Jewish woman ‘rom Leningrad has been committed to a closed psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period. The woman, 63-year-old Meita Leibovna Leikina, was accused of dealing with contraband and concealing crimes against the state.

Her “crime” was that she sent violin to her daughter Anna 1n Israel via a friend. She wrote a letter to her daughter informing her about this and the letter served as a pretext to charge her.

A particularly disturbing feature of the case is the involvement of the Serbsky Institute, which diagnosed that Mrs. Leikina was suffering from “involuntary psychosis”.

The institute has gained a reputation among western scientists for being nothing more than a cover for KGB tactics against dissenting Soviet citizens. Its director, Dr. Daniel Lunts, is alleged to have been seen entering the institute in the uniform of a KGB colonel. Iosif Khansis, who spentĀ  four years in a variety of camps and prisons, was examined there.

Jewish activists have often been threatened with being sent to mental institutions but the threat has rarely been translated into practice. Kharkov activist Yuli Brind, for example, was arrested in 1972 and immediately examined by psychiatric specialists, who declared him insane. His “madness” was his desire to go to Israel.

It was only after a telephone call from Michael Sherbourne, well-known London worker for Soviet Jews, that Brind was transferred to an ordinary prison.

Jewish Observer November 1975

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