Veteran Soviet Jewish leader Natan Sharansky has hailed Greville Janner a ‘comrade-in-arms ready and determined to assist every Jew who needed his help’.
Janner, who served as member of parliament for Leicester West for 27 years, suffered dementia and died peacefully at his home on Saturday, aged 87.
In a letter to Lord Janner’s family, Sharansky praised his support for refuseniks, Jewish dissidents who campaigned to leave the Soviet Union for Israel and the United States.
The Ukraine-born Israeli politician wrote that during the 1970s, there was “one politician in the free world—perhaps the only one—who made it his duty to regularly speak to us by telephone from London – that was Greville Janner.”
In the message, which was sent two days after the former Labour peer’s death, Sharansky wrote that the politician had two aims: “To encourage us and to serve as a warning to the KGB that the free world and its political leadership was watching its treatment of us.”
“He continued his involvement in the struggle for Soviet Jewry for the next twenty years, until that struggle was complete,” his letter continued.
Sharansky, who now chairs the Jewish Agency, added that he would “always remember” his meetings with Janner in Israel and England.
Janner served as President of the National Council for Soviet Jewry and sat on the parliamentary committee for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. His latter years saw the reemergence of allegations of historic child abuse, which his family have strenuously denied.