New Collections Acquired for AASJM

Dr. Jack Minker, a leading authority in artificial intelligence, on behalf of foreign scientists whose human rights and scientific freedom were violated, donated his papers to AASJM. The bulk of the collection focuses on Soviet Jewish Refuseniks, such as cyberneticist Alexander Lerner, mathematicians Victor Brailovsky and Anatoly Sharansky, and a dissident human rights activist, nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov. The documents include manuscripts, correspondence, memos, notes, publications, news clippings, and photographs.

Oral Histories

Oral histories with prominent veterans of the Soviet Jewry Movement and a former Prisoner of Conscience were videotaped at the AJHS:

Joseph Yanich, former executive director of the Southeast Region, American Jewish Congress, recalled his pioneering efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry during 1960s, his eye-opening trip to the Soviet Union in 1969, and his founding role in the influential South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience (POC), former Chief Rabbi of Voronezh, Nosson Vershubsky, spoke about spending two years in the Soviet prison camps for practicing Judaism in the 1980s.

2013 AJHS Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award Ceremony Honoring Avital Sharansky

Elie Wiesel presenting Emma Lazarus award to Avital Sharansky with AJHS President Paul Warhit

The American Jewish Historical Society honored Avital Sharansky with the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award in recognition of her fight to free her husband and other members of the Soviet Jewry at a special ceremony on May 28th, 2013. The Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award is presented every year by the American Jewish Historical Society to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to strengthening the American Jewish community. Avital Sharansky undertook a heroic struggle to free her husband, Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky, and other Prisoners of Zion from a Soviet Russian prison where he languished for nine years until released - largely as a result of the pressures applied by U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, in negotiations with President Mikhail Gorbachev.

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Digital Collections

A collection of 416 photographs from The Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement is now available to be viewed online.

Click here to view the photos.

Interactive Roll of Honor

The posthumous Roll of Honor of the Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement is dedicated to persons of all faiths that played a leadership role in the Movement. We honor and preserve their memories so that future generations will be familiar with their achievements.

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MLK Speech Discovered

A reel-to-reel tape of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry in December 1966 was discovered by our project archivists this month, part of AJHS’ Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement, spear-headed by former AJHS Board Chairman Ken Bialkin. The 5-minute speech was heard, over the telephone, in 32 communities around the nation. The tape has been transferred to CD-ROM and AJHS hopes to make it available to scholars and the public online.

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New Links
Freedom 25

This December marks the 25th anniversary of the culminating moment of the Soviet Jewry Movement: the March on Washington on the eve of the first Gorbachev/Reagan summit.
Freedom 25, a cooperative initiative of numerous Jewish organizations, is using the anniversary to raise awareness about this epic tale. The ability of the Jewish community to unite to help free Soviet Jews holds many lessons for current and future challenges.
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Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO) is a central coordinating body in the Russian Jewish community of NY that was formed in 2001 to facilitate the successful integration process of Russian Speaking Jews into the mainstream Jewish community and the greater American society.
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myStory is a web site created by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to preserve the dramatic stories of emigration to America and to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry.
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Association Remember and Save

The Archive of the Jewish Aliya Movement in the USSR, is a voluntary organization that collects, preserves and provides access to the personal archives and recollections of former refuniks and Zionist activists of the aliyah movement in the Former Soviet Union, 1967-89. The organization’s collections include documents, photographs, video and audio recordings as well as books and other publications on the aliyah movement and Soviet Union. The organization is based in Haifa, Israel.