1893 - 1974
In November 1952, the Ministry of State Security of the USSR received a signal that a woman had been seen at the Embassy of the State of Israel. She looked at the lowered white and blue flag and cried softly. Israel was in mourning then: on November 7, 1952, the first president of the young state, Chaim Weizmann, died. The crying woman's name was Maria Weizmann, she was the sister of the late president.
There were twelve of them – brothers and sisters Weizmann, all of them were born in the Russian Empire, but by the time of the events described, Maria was left alone in the USSR.
They followed her for a long time. The sister of an important Zionist figure, and then the president of a hostile state – how many countries could boast of such a valuable hostage! While Chaim Weizmann was alive, she was not touched. But then he died, and she dared to remind of her existence, crying at the walls of the Israeli embassy!
On February 7, 1953, the Minister of State Security Ignatiev proposed to urgently arrest Maria Weizmann. According to him, there were more than enough reasons for the arrest: Maria Weizmann for many years led the Zionist agitation, criticized the Soviet regime, and also regularly submitted requests to leave for Israel from the Soviet paradise.
The matter was resolved in three days. On February 10, 1953, Maria Weizmann was brought to the MGB. The first interrogation took place the next night.
Ivanov, a major in state security, started from afar. He was interested not only in Maria's “activities” in Moscow, but also in all the contacts of the Weizmann family over the past 60 years, since her birth. Maria, an ordinary pensioner, only recently a doctor of the State Insurance Company, had nothing to hide. She was born in the city of Pinsk (in the south of today's Belarus) in 1893. One of the youngest, she studied well, easily passed exams at the prestigious Fundukleevskaya gymnasium in Kiev. In 1908, she and her sister Anna left for Zurich, where both girls entered the university. In 1912, Maria received a medical degree, returned to Russia and passed the exams that gave her the right to work as a physician in the Russian Empire. Then she went to Warsaw. Here Maria got a job at a Jewish hospital.
When the First World War broke out, Maria Weizmann returned to her native Pinsk and entered the Red Cross. The young doctor was attached to the epidemiological unit and sent to the Southwestern Front. There Maria met a Russian cavalry officer Vasily Savitsky, whom she later married.
In 1918, Maria and her husband settled in Moscow. By that time, most of her brothers and sisters had already moved to Eretz Yisrael. In 1935, Maria also tried to move to her relatives, but to no avail - the way abroad was already closed.
The life of Maria Weizmann in the USSR was modest and unimportant. Soon after moving to Moscow, Maria got a job in the typhoid department of the Snegirev polyclinic and worked there for about 15 years. Then, before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, she was in charge of the outpatient clinic of the insurance office of the Krasnopresnensky district of Moscow. During the war, she was a doctor at the aircraft plant number 4, and since 1944 also in the State Insurance. In 1948 she reached retirement age, but did not quit her job.
After the death of Chaim Weizmann, government agencies tried to find connections between Maria and the Zionist movement. The Case of Doctors and the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee had just happened, and investigators were struggling to "make" the sister of the President of Israel an active participant in the “Zionist struggle”. But nothing discrediting Maria was found.
But there was an order – the investigation had to end with a guilty verdict. A non-stop series of interrogations began. Maria Weizmann was presented with the interrogation protocols of her husband – Vasiliy Savitskiy, who was arrested in the spring of 1949 for anti-Soviet activities. On April 29, 1949, he signed a confession stating that he and his wife Maria hated the Soviet system, rejoiced at the death of Zhdanov and dreamed of Stalin's death. Maria had no doubts that her husband could sign such a confession only under torture. On February 23, 1953, exhausted by hours of interrogation, a 60-year-old woman confirmed her husband's testimony. She also pleaded guilty to the fact that, being a Jewish bourgeois nationalist, she carried out organized enemy work against the Soviet state, systematically listened to anti-Soviet slanderous radio broadcasts from the United States and England, the content of which she discussed with her associates.
Maria Weizmann avoided a harsh sentence due to Stalin’s death. The repression machine began to stop. In early April, many of the defendants in the Doctors' Cause were released; the investigation into the case of the Israeli president's sister was proceeding by inertia. The investigators somehow needed to extricate themselves from the situation: the defendant had a surname too loud. By a special meeting on July 28, 1953, Maria Weizmann was sentenced to 5 years in forced labor camps, but immediately, on the basis of the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of March 27, 1953, "On Amnesty" was released from punishment and from custody.
Once free and waiting for her husband from prison, Maria applied for repatriation to Israel. With the help of Vera Weizmann, the widow of Chaim Weizmann, Maria and her husband received permission to leave in October 1955 in order to reunite with their family. In Israel, Maria worked as a doctor until her death in 1974.
On March 14, 1989, the USSR Prosecutor General's Office fully rehabilitated the sister of the first president of Israel.