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The Marshall W. Nirenberg Papers

Letter from Marshall W. Nirenberg to Nikolai V. Podgorny pdf (59,755 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Marshall W. Nirenberg to Nikolai V. Podgorny
In this copy of the letter Nirenberg sent to the Russian President, he asks that Shtern be released and treated for severe health problems. He emphasizes reducing tensions between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. while noting that the prestige of the Soviet Union would only be enhanced by a humanitarian act in his case.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (59,755 Bytes)
1975-06-16 (June 16, 1975)
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Podgorny, Nikolai V.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
Box Number: 4
Folder Number: 45
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Series II: Correspondence, 1953-1993
Folder: General, 1953-1977
June 16, 1975
I am writing to you, as the supreme voice of authority in the Soviet Union, to plead for the release of Dr. Mikhail Shtern.
Dr. Shtern by this time is a sick and tormented man, prematurely aged by his experiences. He suffers from severe health problems and I fear for his life under the regimen of the labor camp. Certainly, he will never survive to serve his eight-year sentence.
The Soviet Union today is one of the world's great powers. Its place among the nations is secure and does not depend on keeping one frail, sick man in prison. The prestige of the Soviet Union abroad can only be enhanced by a humanitarian and generous act of clemency in his case.
I and many of my colleagues in science have welcomed the reduction in tensions between our two countries as a result of the policy of detente. We are in the forefront of exchanges in science between the USSR and the United States. But those exchanges cannot take place without the collaboration and support of American scientists, and their enthusiasm for such cooperation is not encouraged when they read about Dr. Shtern or other Soviet scientists whose desire to emigrate to Israel has resulted in severe punishment.
I urge you to grant amnesty to Dr. Shtern, and allow him and his wife to leave so that they may join the remaining members of their family and live out their remaining years in peace.
Sincerely yours,
Marshall Nirenberg
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