Leaving Russia

In those days, Russia’s doors were completely shut. The Iron Curtain wasn’t merely a play on words; it was the reality.
I always yearned to leave and when I heard about this agreement between Russia and Poland, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
The years dragged on as we impatiently waited for the day that we would be permitted to leave.
We once heard a rumor that in Kulashi, Georgia, the Jews got along with the emigration authorities and, it was possible to obtain a visa. It was decided that I would go and check this out.
In exchange for a gift, of course, he would agree to be the go-between.
In the middle of the ‘60s, the Soviets issued a number of exit visas and many Chassidim in Moscow, Tashkent and Samarkand were given permission to leave. It seemed that perhaps a new, brighter era had dawned.
We went to the OVIR office in Samarkand and dared to ask for exit visas. “How come in other places they are giving dozens of exit visas and you are refusing us?” we asked.
The official stood there in the middle and apologized, “Soon, all of you will be able to go. Believe me, you will all get your visas, but it can’t be all at once. It has to be orderly, one by one.”
During the next two years, many of additional families received exit visas, and between the years 1970-1972, most of the Chassidim left the Soviet Union.

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