The Leningrad “Aeroplane” Trial (27.9)

New Information

<<No 27 : 15 October 1972>>

At the Leningrad aeroplane trial in December 1970 (see CCE 17.6) defendant J. M. Mendelevich was charged, amongst other things, with having written the articles “On Assimilation’’ and “The Jews Are Ceasing to be Silent” and defendant L. G. Khnokh, with possessing an appeal “of anti-Soviet content” entitled “Your Native Tongue”. These counts of the indictment are described as proven in the verdict pronounced by the Leningrad City Court on 24 December 1970 and in the ruling of the RSFSR Supreme Court of 31 December 1970 [note 1].

On 26 May 1972 the written evidence of former Soviet, now Israeli, citizens M. Zand (see CCE 19 and CCE 20.11, item 24), V. Meniker and M. Gelfond [note 2], given under oath in accordance with legally established procedure, before the chief legal assistant to the chief Israeli government adviser on legal affairs, Leonard Schroeter, was sent to [USSR] Procurator-General R. Rudenko.

From this evidence it is clear that:

  1. The author of the text entitled “On Assimilation” is M. Zand.

2. The author of the first part of the article “The Jews Have Ceased to be Silent” is M. Zand; the author of the second part of the same article is not Mendelevich, but another person known to M. Zand, V. Moniker and M. Gelfond, whom they do not name.

3. The article “Thy Native Tongue” (its [exact] title was misquoted in the verdict and the ruling) was written by M. Zand. It is not of an anti-Soviet nature, neither are three other articles known to Zand whose titles include the words “native tongue”.

In connexion with this statement the corresponding counts in the indictment, verdict and ruling cannot be imputed to J. M. Mendelevich or L. G. Khnokh.

The indubitable falsity of these accusations calls into question the objectivity of the trial held in Leningrad on 24 December 1970 as a whole, and therefore, in the opinion of M. Zand, there should be a retrial. M. Zand expresses his willingness, “in the event of a review, at an open judicial hearing, of the case of those convicted in Leningrad on 24 December 1970 … to come to the USSR at the summons of Soviet legal organs and give additional evidence on the essence and the details” of his written testimony.



[1] See the record of the trial in Exodus No. 4, published in 1971 in English as a booklet by the Institute of Jewish Affairs (London).

[2] See Gelfond’s appeal in Exodus No. 4. Also, Meniker’s letter of 1966 in defence of Sinyavsky and Daniel in M. Hayward and L. Labedz, Trial (London, 1967) and also his protest about the Galanskov-Ginzburg trial (CCE 2.1, No. 48).