WASHINGTON (Mar. 23)
Hundreds of one-pound boxes of matzos are being delivered by mailmen to the Soviet Embassy here, rejected by the Embassy and returned to the main Post Office building where the matzos are being stored in a basement believed to harbor vermin.
Postal officials declined to give an estimate on the number of parcels, each usually addressed to a Soviet Jew in care of the Soviet Embassy. Estimates varied from 1500 to 5000 boxes as of today. The New Jersey regional advisory board of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, sponsor of the campaign, said that so far more than 5000 boxes had been mailed and that by Monday the figure would be around 10,000.
Robert Kohler, the regional ADL director, said matzos had been selected as “a symbol of freedom.” Referring to the possibility of vermin or mice getting into the packages if they are not removed quickly from the PO building, he said the project organizers had anticipated that the Embassy might reject the matzos and arranged for trucks to pick up the boxes to distribute the matzos to charitable institutions.
Louis A. Everhart of the US Postal Service headquarters told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Soviet Embassy had “rebuffed” mailmen trying to deliver the boxes and that Embassy officials told the Washington Post Office it would accept letters but not parcels. Everhart said that, as of today, 1500 packages filled 25 hampers in the main PO building.
Samuel L. Gaber, regional director of B’nai B’rith for Pa., Del., and W. Va., said that “thousands of one-pound packages are going out from the Philadelphia area alone.” The communities are addressing these packages directly to Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the US in Washington.