Refuseniks’ story told through Sharansky’s lens at Washington Film Festival
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Refuseniks’ story told through Sharansky’s lens at Washington Film Festival

From Slavery to Freedom shown in the U.S. capital with Israeli politician taking part in a Q&A session after the screening

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Natan Sharansky pictured in the film 'From Slavery to Freedom'
Natan Sharansky pictured in the film 'From Slavery to Freedom'

A new film, From Slavery to Freedom, was shown at the Washington Jewish Film Festival this week. It tells the story of Soviet refuseniks through the lens of Natan Sharansky’s biography.

In 1977, Sharansky, arguably the most famous Soviet Jewish human rights activist, was arrested on charges of spying for the US, treason, and anti-Soviet agitation.

He spent nine years in prison before taking part in a prisoner exchange — and immediately emigrating to Israel where he was reunited with his wife, Avital, who had spent years campaigning for his release.

The film is internationally supported by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, re-creates a Soviet era where there was an overwhelming sense of fear and insecurity in the face of the system.

Sharansky became a politician in Israel and then chair of the Jewish Agency, before being succeeded last year by the former Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog.

Natan Sharansky himself took part in a Q&A session after the screening, together with Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer.

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