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Sanford A. Gradinger (1936-2017) Papers

Identifier: P-880

Scope and Content Note

Sanford A. Gradinger Papers consist of two scrapbooks, a recording of radio show featuring Mr. Gradinger, an oral history interview with Mr. Gradinger, news clippings, a movie script based on the Refusenik Zapesochny family, featuring the character of Sanford Gradinger. The materials document Mr. Gradinger’s contacts and visits with the members of U.S. government in Washington D. C., his trips to the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia, participation in demonstrations and vigils, organization of benefit concerts in US and Europe and other activities on behalf of the Soviet Jewry. Materials include photographs, videocassette, CDrs, correspondence, clippings, ephemera and travel memorabilia.


  • Creation: undated, 1980-1988, 1993-1995, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1993 - 1995


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Historical Note

The Papers of Sanford A. Gradinger (1936-2017) 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 Movements 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.

Sanford A. Gradinger, a Rochester, NY businessman became involved with the movement in 1977 when he learned about the plight of a recent Soviet émigré, who was teaching physics at the University of Rochester. Edward Lozansky was struggling to reunite with his wife and daughter, left behind in the USSR, who were denied exit visas by the Soviet authorities. Gradinger joined in with the group of other Rochesterians to help the Lozansky family and other Refuseniks. In 1978 Sanford Gradinger co-founded the Andrei Sakharov International Committee to focus international attention on the prominent human rights activist Andrei Sakharov (repressed by the Soviet government), help reunite separated Soviet Jewish families and demand the release of Soviet Jewish Refuseniks like Rimma Bravve and Ida Nudel.


1 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers of Sanford A. Gradinger cover the period from mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s and document the activities of the Rochester, NY businessman on behalf of Soviet Jews, his involvement with the Andrei Sakharov International Committee and his travels to Washington D. C., Soviet Union and Former Soviet Union. Materials include photographs, videocassette, CDrs, correspondence, clippings, ephemera and travel memorabilia..


The collection is organized into one series arranged alphabetically.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Sanford A. Gradinger in 2008.

Related Material

The Papers of Sanford Gradinger is one individual collection within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM) located at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). Other Soviet Jewry Movement collections at AJHS include the records of Action for Soviet Jewry (I-487), the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ; I-181 and I-181A), the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (I-410, I-410A) , the Houston Action for Soviet Jewry (I-500) , Medical Mobilization for Soviet Jewry, the papers of Joel Ackerman (P-787), Julia Mates Cheney (P-806), Jerry Goodman (P-863), Laurel and Alan J. Gould (P-866), Carolyn W. Sanger (P-870), Si Frumkin (P-871), Elaine Pittell (P-873), Shaul Osadchey (P-882), Leonard S. Cahan (P-883), Doris H. Goldstein (P-887), David H. Hill (P-888), Margery Sanford (P-889), Pinchas Mordechai Teitz (P-891) and Pamela B. Cohen (P-899)

Individual accounts of activities within the Soviet Jewry Movement are preserved in the UJA Oral History Collection (I-433), which includes accounts from members of the following organizations: the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, Bay Area Council on Soviet Jews (BACSJ), Seattle Action for Soviet Jews, Houston Action for Soviet Jews, Chicago Action for Soviet Jews, Colorado Committee of Concern for Soviet Jews and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Interviewees include accounts by Lillian Forman (BACSJ), Ann Polunsky, Morey Schapira, Myrtle Sitowitz, Deborah Turkin, David Waksberg, Sylvia Weinberg and Dolores Wilkenfeld. In addition, posters related to the Soviet Jewry Movement can be found in the Jewish Student Organizations Collection (I-61).

Additional materials from other collections include records dealing with the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) located within the North American Jewish Students Appeal (NAJSA, I-338) and the records of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC, I-172). Related records are also located at the AJHS in Newton Centre, MA including memorabilia and ephemera of the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (I-237) and the Records of the Student Coalition for Soviet Jewry – Brandeis University (I-493).

Guide to the Sanford A. Gradinger Papers (1936-2017), undated, 1980-1988, 1993-1995, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010 *P-880
Processed by Andrey Filimonov
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • October 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States