Page 55 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

Basic HTML Version

HOFFMAN / JEWISH SAMIZDAT
49
fleeted in the em ph asis on universality and legalism. T h e a p ­
p roach is didactic: T h e documents state the Soviet citizen’s legal
rights, exp lain how to exercise these rights in app ly ing fo r visas,
and indicate which extraord inary p re ssu re tactics can be app lied
when routine p rocedu re s fail.
T h e documen tary materials testify to the difficulties o f the
strugg le — harassm en ts , arrests, labor camps. Since trials o f Jew ­
ish activists were closed to the public, only sm ugg led reports
d issem inated via sam izdat could in form Soviet and Western
readers and en cou rage them to app ly p ressu re . Th e Len ing rad
T r ia ls o f 1970-71 and related trials in other cities dom inate sev­
eral o f these collections.
Th e White Book o f Exodus is a creative innovation. Th e first issue
o ffe r s selected documen ts a rran ged in dramatic order to describe
all the stages on the path to em igration with an ironic runn ing
commentary warn ing “you ,” the reader , not to be overly op tim is­
tic. Th e d an gers inherent in the process are forcefully underlined
by a concluding section on those activists who, instead o f receiving
the coveted exit visa, were arre sted and sent to labor camps.
ORIGINAL WRITINGS
T h e publication o f the jou rn a lJews in the USSR (Evrei v SSSR ) in
October 1972 marks the beginning o f an important new stage in
Jew ish sam izdat — the appearan ce o f thought-provoking original
works.
Initiated by A lexander Voronel, the jou rn a l has had a succes­
sion o f editors as new ones have come forward to replace those
em igrating to Israel. Form er ed itors now in Israel include V o r­
onel, V ladim ir Yakhot, Rafael Nude lm an , V ladim ir Lazaris, and
Emma Sotnikova. Since the arre st o f ed itor Viktor Brailovskii in
November 1980 no new issues have appeared .
Th e ed itors o f Jews in the USSR purposely reveal their names
and add resse s and state that anonymous works will not be consid­
ered. Th e ir openne ss emphasizes their insistence that as a non­
political organ their jo u rn a l ought to be a legal, perm itted pub li­
cation. They ado p t a scientific app roach toward the systematic
study o f Jew ish consciousness:
. . it is necessary to gather su f f i­
cient representative material to separa te the object from the sub ­
ject o f cognition and to distinguish between multiplicity o f obser-