THIS IS WHO WILL PLAY IN THEIR JAZZ BAND

Author: Tatyana Tess

THIS IS WHO WILL PLAY IN THEIR JAZZ BAND. (By Tatyana Tess. Izvestia, Sept. 11, p. 6. Complete text:) The editors have received several letters of similar content. Readers say that recently, in one of the broadcasts of a foreign radio station, they heard the following report: Two jazz musicians from a Soviet music-hall troupe, on tour in Tokyo, appeared at the American Embassy and requested "political" asylum. From Tokyo, they were sent by airplane to Copenhagen, and from there they were transferred to West Germany.

The letter writers ask us to explain what kind of people these traitors to the homeland were.

***

I shall tell about one of them first. His name is Igor Beruk-shtis, he is 30 years old, and he lived in Moscow with his wife and daughter. His mother, Tamara Vyacheslavovna, a chemical engineer by profession, also lives in Moscow. In order to learn the details of his life, I asked his mother to meet with me.

Even from afar, while approaching her house, I saw a lone woman's form standing in the light of a lantern. A cold, damp wind was blowing, and the woman stood stoop-shouldered and bareheaded. His mother was waiting for me. I could tell this from her eyes: Tearless and shining, they were full of shame, confusion and a mother's mortal grief. Silently we climbed the stairs to her apartment. A young woman sat huddled on the ottoman with her hands pressed to her breast; she had a chill. This was Berukshtis's wife, Vera.

The three of us remained silent for some time. I could not help thinking: This is how it is in a home where someone has recently died. And, as though guessing my thoughts, the mother said dully:

"No, it is worse than death."

Gradually the mother and the wife began to talk. And then feature after feature, detail ...

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