Let My People Go – Global Campaign for the Jews in the USSR

Jews of Struggle: The Jewish National Movement in the USSR, 1967–1989

When Soviet Jews launched their open campaign to emigrate, it was almost inconceivable that within little more than two decades the face of history would change beyond recognition, the Soviet Union would disintegrate, and the gates of the Iron Curtain would be thrown wide open for Jews to leave. The present exhibit tries to trace this process, which is one of the most fascinating phenomena of the twentieth century.

The Jews of the USSR were trapped in a totalitarian state that not only did not permit the existence of Jewish life or allow them to leave, but also waged a vigorous campaign against them and denounced them as traitors to Mother Russia. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Iron Curtain, Jews and non-Jews rallied to help Soviet Jewry on a scale previously unknown. The exhibit presents Soviet Jewry’s open struggle for the right to immigrate to Israel. The exhibit focuses on the refuseniks, those whose applications to emigrate to Israel had been rejected. It surveys the methods they employed in their battle with the Soviet authorities and their lives in the shadow of the refusal to let them leave.