Guide to the Papers of Sanford A. Gradinger
undated, 1980-1988, 1993-1995, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010


Processed by Andrey Filimonov

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161



© 2015, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Andrey Filimonov in February 2010. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gradinger, Sanford
Title: Sanford A. Gradinger Papers
Dates:undated, 1980-1988, 1993-1995, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010
Dates:bulk 1993-1995
Abstract: 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..
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (2 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-880
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

The Papers of Sanford A. Gradinger 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.

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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.

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The collection is organized into one series arranged alphabetically.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, N.Y., 10011 email:

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Related Material

The Papers of Pinchas Mordechai Teitz 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).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Sanford A. Gradinger Papers ; P-880; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Sanford A. Gradinger in 2008.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.


Papers of Sanford A. Gradinger, undated, 1985, 1993-1995, 2007, 2009

12 folders.


Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content Note.

11Congressional Appeals to General Secretary Gorbachev on Behalf of the Refusenik Families 1987
12Correspondence, News Clippings, Speeches, Statements and Sanford A. Gradinger's CV 1985, 1987-1988, 1993-1995, 2007, 2009
13"Escaping the Gulag", Movie Script by Robert Zapesochny 2009
14Minutes of the Social Action Committee undated, 1985
15"Natan Sharansky the Liar", Article by Ida Nudel 2005
16Oral History with Sandy Gradinger, May 13, 2010, CD; WHAM Morning Show: "Sandy/Moscow", Central Financial, December 30, 1991, CD 1991, 2010
17Sakharov International Committee 1980-1988
18Scrapbook I, (1 of 5) undated
19 Scrapbook I, (2 of 5) undated
110Scrapbook I, (3 of 5) undated
111 Scrapbook I, (4 of 5) undated
112Scrapbook I, (5 of 5)undated
21Scrapbook II, (1 of 5) undated
22Scrapbook II, (2 of 5) undated
23Scrapbook II, (3 of 5) undated
24Scrapbook II, (4 of 5) undated
25Scrapbook II, (5 of 5) undated
26Videocassette: "Jewish Federation Chanukah Program, December 15, 1987" 1987
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