Operation Exodus: 20 Years Later


Twenty years ago, after Jews in the Soviet Union had been persecuted and imprisoned for nearly two decades for seeking permission to move to Israel, the doors were opened and one of the most massive human migrations in history began. Within just a few years, more than 1 million Jews had packed what they could and left for Israel, the United States and Western Europe.

The dramatic political and social events that led up to that migration, as well as world Jewry’s incredible role in helping those people begin new lives in new lands, and the impact the influx has had on Israel and Chicago, all will be recounted on the next episode of the public-affairs program “Sanctuary.”

Guests include: Richard Wexler and Harvey Barnett, communal leaders who were deeply involved in freeing Soviet Jews and resettling them in Israel and Chicago; Suzanne Franklin, of Jewish Child & Family Services, one of several agencies that helped tens of thousands of Soviet Jews adjust to new lives in and around Chicago; Maya Gumirov, also of Jewish Child & Family Services, and a refugee who herself left Russia for the Chicago area. Hosted by Deborah Palmer Herst. 

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