Welcome to myStory
Dear Friends / Дорогие друзья!
Welcome to myStory – the exciting new website created by HIAS to preserve the dramatic stories of our emigration to America and to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry. This remarkable movement to Let My People Go helped more than two million Jews break through the Iron Curtain and start new lives in Israel, Western Europe, Australia and, of course, North America.
My family and I came to the United States with the assistance of HIAS in 1979. Indeed, over the past 40 years, HIAS has helped almost half a million Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU), and also was instrumental in pressuring the Soviet government to let Jews emigrate and persuading the American government to allow Jewish refugees into the United States.
If you are an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, like my family, I imagine you also were introduced to HIAS within hours of leaving the Soviet Union. HIAS met us at the Vienna airport and at the train in Rome and gave us local currency to use immediately. HIAS case workers helped us to fill out our emigration forms, arranged interviews at the US Consulate, and bought us tickets to travel to the United States. To this day, HIAS continues to help Russian Jews in America receive life-saving public benefits and educational scholarships, register to vote, organize self-help groups, and so much more.
While the official history of the movement is well-known, what is yet to be told are the personal experiences of ordinary Soviet Jews and non-Jews – people like you and me – who applied for exit visas despite severe pressure from the authorities and the risk of losing their livelihood, and who left everything behind in order to start a new, freer life.
Now the new HIAS website, myStory.hias.org, gives each Russian émigré another opportunity of a lifetime: to tell the story of his or her struggles and accomplishments, to pass on precious memories, to remember dear ones, and to express hopes for the future. Tell about your own activism or record your experiences, memories, stories, poetry, or anecdotes related to your immigration experience. All forms of expression are welcome, and I encourage you to contribute photographs, drawings, and official documents.
All stories and photographs will be available to users browsing the site, as well as to visitors, scholars, and others interested in this exciting period in history ... you may even be reunited on-line with friends and others around the world whose lives you touched.
While you're here, be sure to visit the Let My People Go Timeline, where you can read about key events in Jewish and world history.
Your memories and experiences are important to your family, to HIAS, and to all who care about the struggles of men, women, and children to be free.
Sincerely / С уважением,
National Chair, myStory