- Digital Programs
Regina Waldman was Executive Director of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews (BACSJ) from 1970 to 1981. Born in Libya, Waldman was forced to flee to Italy with her family in the wake of anti-Jewish rioting that followed the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967. She immigrated to the United States in 1969 and began volunteering with the BACSJ. She became Executive Director a year later. Waldman was particularly adept at using actions, such as chaining herself to the gates of the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco, to attract media attention to the plight of Soviet Jews. In 1975, Waldman visited the Soviet Union, where she met with refuseniks and dissidents such as Anatoly Scharansky and Andrei Sakharov. Waldman would later go on to host Sakharov's wife, Yelena Bonner, during an 1986 visit to the San Francisco Bay Area (and both Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner during a subsequent visit in 1989). Waldman worked on two exhibitions of underground Soviet Art in the Bay Area, the first, entitled "12 From The Soviet Underground," opened at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1976 and the second, entitled "From Gulag to Glasnost," toured the United States in 1989. Waldman later founded an organization called JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) to raise awareness about Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
The collection consists of a small amount of biographical material, correspondence, newspaper clippings, assorted pamphlets and exhibition catalogs, and photographs that document the activities Waldman undertook as director of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews. The oversize item is an illustrated letter that Waldman smuggled out of the Soviet Union from a Jewish dissident artist.