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June 18, 2014 10:05 am

Israeli National Library Gets Sharansky Family Archive

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Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgThe family of Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, perhaps the most famous former prisoner of Zion, has given its archive to the National Library of Israel.

Sharansky was arrested by Soviet authorities in 1977 and charged with espionage and treason. He was sentenced to 13 years of forced labor in a Siberian prison, and was eventually released in 1986.

The family’s archive includes hundreds of never-before-seen documents and items dating back to the early 1960s on the struggle to see Sharansky and other Prisoners of Zion released.

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The archive comprises documents and letters gathered by Sharansky’s wife, Avital, and includes updates the family received at the time from the Israeli government and intelligence agencies. Some of the records detail phone conversations then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin held with other heads of state in efforts to facilitate Sharansky’s release.

“This is a very unique archive, which affords an authentic glimpse into one of the most important Zionist struggles of the 20th century,” National Library Chairman David Blumberg said.

“The National Library is proud to be a partner in the conservation efforts of this archive and to ensuring the public has access to the this documentation,” he said.

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