From Leningrad to Jerusalem: The Gulag Way

Hilel Butman, Author Benmir Books $0 (353p) ISBN 978-0-917883-04-0
In 1966 Butman, who was expelled from the Leningrad police force for associating with pro-Israeli Jews, joined in the formation of an underground Zionist organization aimed at ``awakening the consciousness of Soviet Jews.'' With other members, he secretly taught Hebrew and circulated Jewish literature. The group also conceived a daring plan, code-named Operation Wedding, to hijack a plane in order to dramatize the desire of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. The jet heist was aborted in 1970, but Butman was arrested by the KGB, charged with treason and sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. After serving nine years, he was deported to Israel, where he now lives. Interestingly, Butman reveals that Operation Wedding was cancelled at the behest of the Israeli government, thus refuting Soviet claims that Israel used the Soviet Zionists as ``a fifth column.'' Though marred by simplistic, uneven prose, this book is still an informative and stirring testimony by an insider in the Soviet-Jewish dissident movement. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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