From recent remarks by Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine):

Until 1979, when Vladimir Feltsman and his wife Anna applied for emigrant visas, Mr. Feltsman played with the finest Soviet orchestras and appeared in many concert tours around the world. He recorded extensively on the Melodia label. His interpretations of Chopin are particularly well noted. All this, however, has come to an end.

His records and tapes can no longer be found in the Soviet Union, and his concerts have been limited to small Soviet cities. The Feltsman family presently lives on a monthly pension of 120 rubles from the musicians' union. But the frustration and humility does not end there. In February, a concert Mr. Feltsman was to give at the American Embassy residence was disrupted when it was discovered that several of the piano's strings had been severed by vandals. In addition, Soviet guests at the embassy were subjected to an unusual level of harassment. No Soviet officials were in attendance. In a final show of official hooliganism, Mr. Feltsman also found that the tires of his car had been slashed.

Perhaps most frustrating of all, however, is the fact that Soviet officials of the department of emigration have three times refused the Feltsmans the visas they need to join their family in Israel. Although Mrs. Feltsman's brother and aunt both reside in Israel, the visas have been denied under the sentence: "No close relatives in Israel."

This is not unique. Thousands of Jews in the Soviet Union have expressed their desire to emigrate to Israel -- as is their right under the Helsinki accords. Instead of getting visas they lose their jobs, their friends, and (these) put tremendous strains on families as they commit their lives to their decisions.