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Babette Wampold Papers

Identifier: P-912

Scope and Content Note

As part of the American Soviet Jewry Movement holdings at the American Jewish Historical Society this collection documents the activities of the Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jewry and its leader Babette Wampold. The collection includes material related to the ACTSSJ and other organizations involved in the effort to free the Refuseniks and consists of articles, essays, correspondence, pamphlets, newsletter, photographs, audio-visual material, and more.

Series I: American Soviet Jewry Movement Organizations, consists of material that documents the activities of a few organizations that comprised the American Soviet Jewry Movement and is broken into two subseries. Sub-Series 1: Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jews, documents the activities of Babette Wampold and the Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jews (ACTSSJ). Such activities include programs to support Soviet Jews through pledges, Adopt a Family, to vigils for human rights. It also includes correspondence with Refuseniks and their family members outside of the Soviet Union, government officials, and scientists. Babette’s essays and editorials on the plight of Refuseniks can be found in this series. Additional material includes a scrapbook further documenting the establishment and activities of the Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jews. Sub-Series 2: Other Organizations, contains material that documents the activities of other American Soviet Jewry Movement organizations that Babette received and includes correspondence between the ACTSSJ and the other councils, their articles, newsletters, mailings, manuals, and booklets.

In Series II: Refusenik Case Histories, the plight of the Refuseniks is documented and includes brief biographical information and various letters and photographs meant for distribution in mailings to raise awareness and provide updates on their status.

Series III: Trip Reports, documents the travel and observations of American activists in the USSR as they attempted to contact Refuseniks and plea for their release.

Series IV, contains the subject files of Babette Wampold and ACTSSJ about various topics and matters pertaining to the overall American Soviet Jewry Movement. These include lists of Refuseniks and American and Soviet officials, newspaper clippings, maps, pamphlets, and Soviet propaganda.

Photographs are kept in Series V. These images, for the most part unidentified, provide snapshots of Refuseniks and activists. The contents of the images include the events of the ACTSSJ, Babette Wampold with various activits and dignitaries including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, in the Wampold home, and U.S. Senator Carl Levin. The series also includes a slide program assembled by the Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry titled Refuseniks: Their Faces, Their Faith. The audio component of this program is contained in the next series.

Series VI: Audio-Visual Material, contains the audio component to the slide program created by the Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry titled Refuseniks: Their Faces, Their Faith. Also included is a telephone interview with Refuseniks Valery and Janna Lerner and the Bussards. The U-Matic videocassette contains unknown material.

Series VII: Ephemera, includes four buttons used to promote awareness of the suffering of Soviet Jews and the efforts related to their release.


  • Creation: undated, 1969-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1976-1991


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:

Biographical Note

The Papers of Babette Wampold 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.

Babette Wampold, activist, art collector, and author, lived in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Charles, a lawyer, and their three children. She wrote about Jewish immigration in the American South and was active in the leadership of the Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jews (ACTSSJ). The Wampold’s art collection was an exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in 2006 entitled Adventures in Collecting Art: American Paintings from the Collections of Charles and Babette Wampold and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.


9.35 Linear Feet (14 manuscript boxes, 1 OS4 box and 1 SB2 box)

Language of Materials






This collection contains the papers of Babette Wampold and the Alabama Council to Save Soviet Jews and documents their activities on behalf of the American Soviet Jewry Movement. The collection is comprised of correspondence, case files, clippings, newsletters, photographs, and trip reports.

Related Material

The papers of Babette Wampold 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), Houston Action for Soviet Jewry (I-500), Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews (I-505), Seattle Action for Soviet Jewry (I-507), 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), Sanford A. Gradinger (P-880), 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), David Waksberg (P-895), Pamela B. Cohen (P-897), Moshe Decter (P-899), William Korey (P-903), Morey Schapira (P-906), Charlotte Gerber Turner (P-907) and Myrtle Sitowitz (P-908).

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 Babette Wampold Papers, undated, 1969-2003 P-912
Finding Aid by Michael D. Montalbano
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Funding made possible by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
Edition statement
[This version was derived from BWampold.xml]

Revision Statements

  • November 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