WASHINGTON -- Soviet relatives of a University of California-Berkeley professor will be permitted to emigrate after 10 years of trying to get permission to leave, Sen. Pete Wilson said Thursday.
Judith Ratner Bialy, her husband Leonid, their two sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandchild will be permitted to leave the Soviet Union, Wilson said.
Bialy is the sister of Marina Ratner of Albany, Calif., who teaches math at Berkeley.
'Obviously we are rejoicing over their expected release,' Wilson told a press conference. But he used the occasion to call for the release of more Jewish 'refuseniks' as well as other persecuted groups seeking to emigrate from the Soviet Union.
'The celebration of glasnost is premature and will be until those who wish to leave the Soviet Union are allowed to,' Wilson said.
Marina Ratner, 49, emigrated from the Soviet Union in the early 1970's with her parents. Her 82-year-old mother now lives in Israel. Her father died in Israel in 1978.
Wilson said he was notified Thursday by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, a Washington emigre group, that Marina's sister Judith and Judith's husband Leonid Bialy had received permission to emigrate. The State Department unofficially confirmed their release, he said.
Permission to leave was also given to the Bialy's sons Alexander, 19, and Mikhail, 25, along with Mikhail's wife Maria Braginsky, 23, and their infant son Shmulik, 7 months.
The Bialys first applied for permission to leave the Soviet Union in 1977, he said.
A Wilson spokesman said it is still unclear when the Bialy's will leave. Nor is it clear if they will come to the United States or go to Israel.
The spokesman said Leonid Bialy lost his job as an engineer in 1971 when his relatives emigrated, and Judith Ratner Bialy lost her job as a research metallurgist in 1973 because her parents and sister emigrated, he said.
He also said the Bialy's son, Mikhail, and daughter-in-law, Maria, have been persecuted by authorities for practicing Judaism.