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In 1929 Detroit, Henry Ford was laying off workers by the thousands. At the same time in Gorky, Russia, he began construction on the world’s largest auto factory. The Great Depression didn’t affect the Soviet Union. During the ’30s, in fact, tens of thousands of Americans (known as “Yanks for Stalin”) emigrated there in search of work. Baseball enjoyed a brief heyday in Russia because of them — until it was banned as a capitalist sport and the Americans were purged.

From the ’60s on, emigration went the other way. Tens of thousands of Jews applied to leave the Soviet Union for Israel, but were denied exit visas. The Jews responded with street demonstrations and got the attention of the world. Their struggle to break though the Iron Curtain is being portrayed for the first time in the documentary film, The Refuseniks. Do they reach freedom? Find out tonight at the Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth) at 1 or 6 p.m. Tickets range $5 to $8. Visit
Thu., Aug. 28, 2008

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Penn Bullock