Nearly a hundred Soviet Jews who emigrated to Israel and now want to return to Russia are living in Vienna, Austria -- appealing to the Moscow Government to allow them back.
GV EXT. TILT UP Dilapidated building in Lamzgasse district
SV INT. TILT UP ditto
SV PAN Woman doing chores in home
SV Old woman & grandson with photograph of family
CU Medals TILT UP old men
CU Text of telegram sent to Moscow
SV & CU Father & son seated in room
SV Old woman doing washing TILT TO bare electric light
Jewish families living in dilapidated tenements in Vienna; war decorations on table; text of telegram sent to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Brezhnev asking permission to return to Russia.
Initials SGM/0134 SGM/0149
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Nearly a hundred Soviet Jews who emigrated to Israel and now want to return to Russia are living in Vienna, Austria -- appealing to the Moscow Government to allow them back. A telegram was set to Soviet Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev last week, on the Soviet Union's fiftieth anniversary as a Federal State, congratulating him on the occasion and hoping that it could be used to allow them home. The telegram did not mention the words Jew or Israel, but said the ninety-three signatories were citizens 'temporarily in Vienna, who were misled by Zionist propaganda and made a mistake'.
The Jews, some of whom were living in ramshackle, dilapidated tenements, gave various reasons for deciding to leave Israel -- but they mostly criticised the economic system and Israeli nationalism. A text of the telegram sent to Mr. Brezhnev was shown to a Visnews cameraman who visited some of the families on Thursday (January 4) when the story broke. He was also shown medals and decorations won by some of the men during World War Two.
In Jerusalem on Friday (January 5) a senior Jewish official dismissed as 'insignificant' the number of Soviet Jews in Vienna -- and disputed the number waiting there to return to Russia. Mr. Moshe Rivlin, Secretary-General of the Jewish Agency which handles Jewish immigration to Israel, said only 86 Jews out of nearly 45,000 who had arrived in Israel in the past two years, had left with the idea of returning to the Soviet Union.
There were always a handful of people who were disgruntled -- some because of family problems, others because they failed to get suitable jobs or accommodation, he said.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet Jews living in dilapidated tenements in Vienna, Austria, have appealed to the Soviet Government to allow them back to Russia -- after having left there to emigrate to Israel. Ninety-three of them cabled a personal appeal to Mr. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Communist Party chief, on the anniversary of the Soviet Union's fiftieth anniversary recently. They congratulated him on the occasion, and asked if it could not be used to allow them back home. They'd been misled by 'Zionist propaganda', they said, and had made a mistake.
Displaying family photographs and Second World War decorations to newsmen, some of the families said they'd been waiting more than a year for permission to return to Russia. Twelve had been given permission and had left Vienna recently, but in the meantime another six had arrived from Israel.
The telegram to Moscow also said the families wanted their children to be educated in the Soviet Union. On Friday, meanwhile, a senior Jewish official in Jerusalem, dismissed the numbers of Soviet Jews in Vienna as insignificant -- and said only eighty-six in two years had left with hopes of returning to Russia.