Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Martin Wenick, 80, Leader Of Soviet Jewry Fight

A leader of the fight to free Soviet Jews who has later instrumental in helping them resettle in the United States, died on May 7 due to complications of COVID-19. He was 80.

Wenick spent 27 years as State Department diplomat before taking over in 1989 as the head of the National Conference for Soviet Jewry, a coalition of Jewish organizations working to support Jews struggling to survive under Communism. A fluent Russian speaker, Wenick had been stationed in Moscow in the early 1970s, where he followed the plight of Jews denied visas to emigrate.

After his retirement from the State Department, Wenick spent three years leading NCSJ. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of restrictive emigration policies for Russian Jews, Wenick took the helm of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the lead Jewish agency helping to resettle 140,000 Soviet Jews in the United States.

“He was a great leader of HIAS, and I will always be grateful for everything he taught me, for the example he set, and for the opportunities he gave me,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ president and CEO.

Wenick grew up in a secular Jewish family in New Jersey and attended Brown University.



The post Martin Wenick, 80, leader of Soviet Jewry fight appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.