Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington | Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum

Voices of the Vigil: D.C.'s Soviet Jewry Movement

Oral History Excerpts

"We drove up to 16th and K streets NW [near the Soviet Embassy]...There, we marched in a constricted circle with the posters and handing out leaflets explaining our cause. I remember Ernie Shalowitz holding up a poster and telling me with a smile that this was the first time in his life that he carried a poster. "
Haim Solomon, Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry

"When I saw former refusnik Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky in Israel many years later and told him of my role with the [Jackson-Vanik] amendment, he thanked me warmly and stressed how crucial the legislation had been in making possible the Soviet Jewish emigration. Of all the meaningful professional positions I have been privileged to hold, I believe the most significant in its impact was my work in helping ensure Congressional passage of the Jackson-Vanik amendment."
June Rogul, National Conference for Soviet Jewry's Washington representative

"For my efforts to assure a conference was held according to international [human rights] standards I was called a 'well-known international agitator.' When my daughter heard this, she was thrilled to have her father be known as a well-known international agitator."
Dr. Jack Minker, Committee of Concerned Scientists

"I met former [Prisoner of Conscience] Shimon Grillius. When I told him I was from Washington, he became very excited. He told me that he had received a package of matzah sent by someone in Washington. He traded a guard some cigarettes for the package just before [Passover]. He told me how moved he was to have the matzah and how much it meant to him."
Samuel Sislen, Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington


Soviet Jewry political button
Soviet Jewry political button
Soviet Jewry political button
Soviet Jewry political button
Soviet Jewry political button