Mort Yadin Papers
Scope and Content Note
The papers of Mort Yadin reflects his work on behalf of Soviet Jews as the member of the Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry and the B’Nai Israel Soviet Jewry Committee. One particular case that preoccupied Mort Yadin was the imprisonment of the prominent Soviet Jewish Zionist and human rights activist Hillel Butman. The collection features Mr. Yadin’s correspondence with and on behalf of Mr. Butman during his incarceration in the Gulag prison camps. The collection contains the transcripts of many phone conversations with Jews in the USSR made by Mr. Yadin. The transcripts are in Russian with English translations. The materials also include correspondence, postal receipts, notes, memos, articles, brochures, news clippings and photographs.
The collection consists of two manuscript boxes.
- undated, 1971-1978
- Yadin, Mort (Person)
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.
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The Papers of Mort Yadin represent one collection housed within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM). These papers reflect the effort, beginning in the 1960s through the late 1980s, of thousands of American Jews of all denominations and political orientations to stop the persecution and discrimination of Jews in the Soviet Union. The American Soviet Jewry Movement (ASJM) is considered to be the most influential Movement of the American Jewish community in the 20th century. The beginnings of the organized American Soviet Jewry Movement became a model for efforts to aid Soviet Jews in other countries, among them Great Britain, Canada, and France. The movement can be traced to the early 1960s, when the first organizations were created to address the specific problem of the persecution and isolation of Soviet Jews by the government of the Soviet Union.
Mort Yadin was born in what was at the time a Russian-Jewish section of Harbin, northern China. At the age of five he moved with his family to Tientsin, a city that contained a synagogue and a Jewish high school. Yadin joined a Zionist youth movement and in 1949, when he was 18, he went to Israel. He attended the Hebrew University where he studied political science. Following his graduation, Yadin was employed by the Israel Foreign Office for 10 years and was then assigned as an Israel Embassy employee in Washington. He pursued graduate work at the University of Maryland and Drake University in Des Moines, majoring in government and business administration. During his childhood and youth Mort Yadin became proficient in English, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew and gained some command of Mandarin Chinese and Japanese languages.
In the early 1970s Mr. Yadin, now a real estate broker in Landover, became involved with the Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry that encouraged him to establish direct contact with dozens of Jewish communities and individual Refuseniks all over the Former Soviet Union. Mr. Yadin was involved in the activities, events and projects organized by the Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry and the B’Nai Israel Soviet Jewry Committee. He actively corresponded with Jews in the Soviet Union, American and foreign organizations and individuals interested in the plight of the Soviet Jewry. Starting in May 1971 Mr. Yadin started making phone calls to Sverdlov, Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Vilna, Leningrad and many other locations all over the Former Soviet Union. During the phone conversations Mr. Yadin obtained the information on the situation of individual Refuseniks and the Soviet Jewish community as a whole, which was supplied to the national network of the American Soviet Jewry movement organizations. His phone calls also offered the much-needed words of support spoken on behalf of the American Jewry to its Soviet brethren. Mr. Yadin also phoned government officials in the USSR ranging from those in charge of exit visas to superintendents of prison camps. He withstood long waiting hours, resistance and inefficiency, to demand information on the oppressed Soviet Jewish activists, explanation of their mistreatment and to inform the Soviet authorities that their abuse of human rights will not go unnoticed to the world outside the USSR. His phone calls received coverage in the press, radio and television, effectively placing the brutal and inconsistent actions of the Soviet authorities in the media spotlight. Persistent phone calls made by Mr. Yadin and other American Soviet Jewry Movement activists are considered to have resulted in the easement of the official policies towards the Refuseniks and even the occasional releases of the Prisoners of Conscience.
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Language of Materials
The papers of Mort Yadin reflect his work on behalf of Soviet Jews as a member of the Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry and the B’Nai Israel Soviet Jewry Committee. Included are transcripts of Yadin's phone conversations with Jews in the USSR, his correspondence with and on behalf of Soviet Jewish Refuseniks and Prisoners of Conscience. The collection also contains news clippings covering Yadin's activism, materials on events and projects, postal receipts, notes, memos, articles, brochures and photographs.
The collection is arranged into a single series.
Located in AJHS New York, NY
Donated by Mort Yadin in 2006.
This collection was digitized in its entirety with the exception of duplicates.
- Guide to the Mort Yadin Papers, undated, 1971-1978 *P-943
- Processed by Andrey Filimonov
- © 2012
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- Description is in English.
- Digitization of the Papers of Mort Yadin (P-943) was made possible through a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
- June 2015: Added dao links by Eric Fritzler.
- November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.
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