Count Us In: The Struggle to Free Soviet Jews-A Canadian Perspective


352 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-896176-05-4
DDC 323.1'1924947






Reviewed by Hans B. Neumann

Hans B. Neumann is an assistant professor of history at Scarborough
College, University of Toronto.


While attempts by the American Jewish community to gain emigration
rights for Soviet Jews has attracted much attention in recent years,
much less has been written about the Canadian contribution to this
effort. Wendy Eisen, herself an active participant, has produced a
well-researched and meticulous account of the long-standing efforts of
Canadian activists from the Jewish community to secure emigration rights
for the three million or so Soviet Jews. Her narrative begins in 1956,
when the first significant news of any kind began to leak out of the
Soviet Union with the rise of Nikita Khrushchev; it ends in 1989, when
Mikhail Gorbachev granted virtually unrestricted emigration rights to
Soviet Jews. The bulk of the text is devoted to the 1970s and 1980s, the
period when the movement gathered momentum and was most active. Eisen
provides considerable detail on the maneuverings required in order to
deal with Soviet officialdom. There is also much background on the
release of such notable Soviet Jewish dissidents as Nathan Sharansky.
Count Us In stands as a testament to the spirit and commitment of all
those who actively participated in the emigration-rights effort.


Eisen, Wendy., “Count Us In: The Struggle to Free Soviet Jews-A Canadian Perspective,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,