Natan and Avital Sharansky Mourn the Passing of Maria Slepak

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Chairman of The Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky and Avital Sharansky have released the following statement:

Maria Slepak, one of the veterans of the Jewish movement in the former Soviet Union, a Prisoner of Zion, and wife of Vladimir Slepak, has passed away.

For almost twenty years, Volodya and Maria Slepak were, without exaggeration, the undisputed leaders of the historic movement for the spiritual and physical freedom of Soviet Jewry. They played a decisive role in maintaining strong ties between Jewish activists in the Soviet Union and the Jewish world. Their tiny communal apartment in Moscow was a true center of our movement in the seventies and eighties, hosting thousands of Jews from across the Soviet Union, as well as tourists from abroad who came to help and Western journalists. Maria had the spiritual and physical strength not only to welcome, host, and feed everyone, but even under the most difficult circumstances to support her friends with a kind word, open and sometimes sharp conversation, and jokes even in times of tears.

Maria and Volodya could not be separated. She was his closest companion and advisor and they made all their decisions together: they were arrested together, they went to prison together, and they went to the Siberian exile together. It is thanks to Maria that Volodya was able to become a leader of the Soviet Jewry movement. But she was a great support not only for Volodya – for all of us, her friends and associates, she was a source of optimism, vivacity, and confidence in the coming victory.

We join her sons Alexander and Leonid in mourning her passing.

May her memory be a blessing.

Avital and Natan Sharansky



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07 Sep 2017 / 16 Elul 5777 0