Photos, Posters, and Ephemera
American Soviet Jewry Movement Photographs
Digitized photographs from The Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement.
American Soviet Jewry Movement Posters and Ephemera
Posters and ephemera from The Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement.
Thousands of the American Soviet Jewry Movement activists took on a level of involvement that potentially jeopardized personal safety. Enlisted by Soviet Jewry organizations to travel to the U.S.S.R. under the pretense of tourist, these activists employed intricate strategies to covertly make contact with Jews. They recorded first-hand observations of the conditions, problems and needs experienced within the totalitarian regime. These trip reports were widely circulated to Jewish communal organizations in the U.S. and beyond and were a crucial part of how worldwide Soviet Jewry awareness was achieved.
The address of Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky to the Second International Congress on the Soviet Jewry recorded in February of 1976. Sharansky, one of the prominent activists of the Soviet Jewry Movement, who spent 10 years in Soviet prisons, was released as a result of the American Soviet Jewry Movement campaign.. He later immigrated to Israel and took an active part in political life there becoming a government minister in several Israeli cabinets. In this 1976 address Sharansky expresses gratitude on his and other refuseniks’ behalf, for the support of their cause as he expresses hope for its success. Sharansky names refuseniks that received long prison sentences, describes a new anti-Jewish campaign started by the Soviet authorities, and states that the fight of the Soviet Jews will continue.(1 MB QuickTime).
Audio collections are accessible on CD at the Center for Jewish History Reading Room.
The Audio Collections include the following:
A weekly radio program produced in the early 1970s for broadcast on the New York City radio station WEVD (then owned by the Jewish newspaper The Forward). The 13- to 14-minute-long programs usually featured an interview with a politician, foreign policy expert, recently-returned visitor to Soviet Jews, or a recent émigré. There were 179 numbered programs, though fewer recordings – approximately 130 – as some programs were apparently rebroadcast. There are no transcripts of these tapes.
Civil Rights Supporters
Various civil rights and cultural leaders were among the early supporters of the movement, and the NCSJ Records also contain sound recordings of interviews with and speeches by Martin Luther King (1966), Bayard Rustin, Tom Stoppard, Harrison Salisbury, and other prominent individuals.
USSR Secret Recordings
The third major category of recordings consists of audiocassette tapes made in secret in the USSR. These include conversations with Anatoly (now Natan) Sharansky, Ida Nudel, Andrei Sakharov and other, less-famous refuseniks. One cassette contains a recording of a speech by Andrei Sakharov accepting in absentia an award from the Anti-Defamation League; another is chillingly labeled: "Alla Smelianski's plea, Jan 29, '79. Mark to commit suicide March 29." Also among the cassettes are several recordings of several telephone conversations arranged under the auspices of NCSJ’s “Call a Russian” program in the early 1970s, in which individuals in the United States made phone contact with Soviet Jews to discuss their particular circumstances, share information on the emigration process, and offer encouragement.
Digitizing American Soviet Jewry Collections Project
From January 2014 to September 2015, Center for Jewish History staff digitized and made available 78,801 images of archival material and 544 hours of audio recordings from the American Jewish Historical Society’s Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement. The Digitizing American Jewry Collection Project effort has made trip reports, photographs, posters, speeches, and ephemera openly available across the world via the Center’s central search and digital assets discovery systems, thanks to the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
The materials digitized under the NHPRC grant capture the American Soviet Jewry Movement’s most influential achievements, such as lobbying, large-scale protests, boycotts, and acts of civil disobedience. They also document the conditions faced by Soviet Jews in the USSR, clandestinely compiled by US activists, and track the evolution of the movement from local grassroots efforts to a national force that shaped foreign policy during the Cold War years.
"Children’s Tale” – slideshow on Jewish children in the USSR – American Soviet Jewry - This video recording was created to digitally reunite the photographic slides and audio recording that initially accompanied the slides to emulate a screening of slideshow.