1975

HIAS

At the request of the State Department, HIAS assists in the resettlement of over 3,500 South Vietnamese refugees in the U.S.
 

SOVIET UNION

A new law is passed, levying a 60 percent tax on all funds sent to Soviet citizens from abroad. This presents a particular hardship for refuseniks, as they routinely are barred from employment after applying to emigrate. 

U.S./WORLD

In August, 35 countries, including the U.S. and the Soviet Union, sign the Helsinki Accords, which calls upon its signatories to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of movement, thought, conscience, religion and belief.

The Trade Reform Act is signed into law by U.S. President Gerald R. Ford. The law includes the Jackson-Vanik and Stevenson amendments, which deny normal trade relations to countries with non-market economies that restrict emigration rights, as well as place limits on loans to the USSR. The inclusion of these amendments is hailed as a victory for human rights. The Soviet Union responds by canceling the trade agreement of October 1972.

The Khmer Rouge march into Phnom Penh, taking control of Cambodia. During their five-year rule, they will perpetrate genocide by starving, executing and enslaving millions of Cambodians. The North Vietnamese conquest of Saigon ends the Vietnam War.

STATISTICS

  • Jewish emigrants from the USSR: 13,221
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 5,250
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 8,531

Looking Back

At year’s end, it is estimated that over 150,000 Soviet Jews are awaiting approval of exit visas. Colonel Efrim Davidovich, who has been stripped of his military rank and repeatedly refused an exit visa, dies in Minsk on April 24.

The KGB begins warning Jews that “collective celebrations of Jewish festivals” may be construed as “Zionist activities.” Refuseniks continue to resist and speak out. Some young refuseniks refuse to be conscripted into the Soviet military. Professor Aleksander Lerner, one of the first prominent Jewish scientists to apply for an emigration visa, calls upon American scholars to boycott Soviet scientific conferences. A rally to support imprisoned refuseniks held on the steps of the Lenin Library in Moscow has only nine participants, two of whom subsequently are sent into internal exile. On International Women's Day, 11 Jewish women in Kishinev begin a hunger strike.

Dissident Andrei Sakharov receives the Nobel Peace Prize but is barred from traveling to Oslo in December to accept the award.