Guide to the Papers of Moshe Decter (1921-2007), undated, 1958-1980, 1982, 1989-1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002-2003

*P-899

Processed by Andrey Filimonov

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

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New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, 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 July 2010. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Decter, Moshe
Title: Moshe Decter Papers
Dates:undated, 1958-1980, 1982, 1989-1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002-2003
Abstract: The collection contains papers of one of the pioneers of the American Soviet Jewry Movement. Starting in the early 1960s Moshe Decter instigated broad publicity campaigns to raise global awareness about the persecution of Soviet Jews and authored hundreds of articles on the subject in a variety of publications. Mr. Decter established and directed the Jewish Minorities Research bureau, served as the executive secretary of the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews and as a director of research at the American Jewish Congress. Moshe Decter Papers consist of materials dating from the late 1950s to the early 2000s, with the bulk of the collection dating in 1960s-1970s. The documents include articles, correspondence, transcripts, notes, memoranda, publications, news clippings, broadsides and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in English, Hebrew, French and Italian.
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-899
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

The Papers of Moshe Decter 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.

Moshe Decter was among the pioneer activists of the American Soviet Jewry Movement. He began his work on behalf of Jews in the U.S.S.R. by establishing and directing the Jewish Minorities Research bureau, and continued in the capacity of the executive secretary of the Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews and director of research at the American Jewish Congress. Despite opposition from the sizeable segment of the American Jewish community advocating policy of quiet diplomacy in dealing with the U.S.S.R., Mr. Decter instigated broad publicity campaigns to raise global awareness about the persecution of Soviet Jews. He authored hundreds of articles on the subject in a variety of publications. The report "Jews in the Soviet Union: A Report by the Editors," which he co-wrote and published in the capacity of the managing editor of the New Leader magazine, became one of the pivotal publications in the Soviet Jewry Movement in America and abroad. Mr. Decter was instrumental in influencing national and international politicians, intellectuals and other public figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., Bertrand Russell and Saul Bellow, to speak out against the oppression of the Soviet Jewry. After the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Mr. Decter continued to support Jewish life in the Former Soviet Union.

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Scope and Content Note

The Moshe Decter Papers consist of materials dating from the late 1950s to the early 2000s, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1960s-1970s. The documents include articles, correspondence, transcripts, notes, memoranda, publications, news clippings, broadsides and photographs.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into a single series.

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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.

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.

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Related Material

The Papers of Moshe Decter 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), 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) and Pamela B. Cohen (P-897).

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).

Library of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research holds several publications by Moshe Decter on the subject of Soviet Jews.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Moshe Decter Papers ; P-899; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Joshua Decter in 2007.

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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 Moshe Decter, undated, 1958-1980, 1982, 1989-1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002-2003

English, Hebrew, French and Italian.
26 folders.
Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content Note.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Academic Committee on Soviet Jewry: National Academic Conference, New York May 11-12, 1968
12Ad Hoc Commission on Soviet Jews1966
13"American Imagination and the Jews of Russia, The," Research Proposal undated, 1995
14American Intellectuals for Israel in Crisis, Ad in New York TimesJune 1967
15Antizionist and Antisemitic Articles in Soviet Press, Translated Into English1959, 1967-1968, 1974
16Articles by Moshe Decter1958-1963
17Black Years of Soviet Jewry: 1939-1959, The, by Yehoshua A. Gilboa, (Brandeis University, Translated From Hebrew) 1971
18Commission of Inquiry on the Rights of Soviet Jews, June 22, 1971, New York, NY, Coordinated by Moshe Decter 1971
BoxFolderTitleDate
21Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews1963, 1967
  (contains Italian)   
22Conference on the Status of Soviet Jews1963, 1967
  (contains Hebrew)   
23Correspondence with John Kenneth Galbraith 1968-1969, 2003
24Correspondence with Yehoshua Pratt1970, 1972-1979, 1992
  (contains Hebrew)   
25Correspondence, General1964, 1971-1972, 1982, 1989, 2002
26"End of Russian Jewry," Essay by Moshe Decter1997
27International Committee of Jurists1963-1964
28Memorandums1963-1965
29New Outlook: 20th Anniversary International Symposium, November 16-21, 1977, Tel Aviv 1977
  (contains Hebrew)   
210News Clippings and Broadsides Regarding Soviet Jewry1966-1967, 1970-1972, 1975
BoxFolderTitleDate
31Oral History Interview Transcript1990
32Photographs1963
33"Poland's Anti-Jewish Campaign," Letter to the Editor of New York Times1968, 1977
34Publications and Near-Print Materials Regarding Soviet Jewry1958-1960, 1966, 1968
35Publications on Soviet Jewry Edited by, and Featuring Writings by Moshe Decter1961, 1970-1971
36Publications on Soviet Jewry Edited by, and Featuring Writings by Moshe Decter1972-1973, 1976
37Statements1960, 1971
38World Conference of Jewish Communities on Soviet Jewry, February 23-15, 1971, Brussels 1971
  (contains Hebrew and French)   
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