In Memoriam: Dina Kaminskaya


On 10 July 2006 Dina Kaminskaya, lawyer and human rights defender, died in Washington.  She was 87.

Dina Isaakovna Kaminskaya was born on 13 January 1919 in Yekaterinoslavl (Dnipropetrovsk).  She graduated from the Moscow Law Institute, and was a member of the Moscow City Chamber of Lawyers [Московская городская коллегия адвокатов].

In December 1965 Dina Kaminskaya was prevented from appearing at the trial of Sinyavsky and Daniel as Yuli Daniel’s defence lawyer after it became clear that she was planning to seek an acquittal.

She defended Vladimir Bukovsky (1967), Yury Galanskov (1967-1968), Anatoly Marchenko (1968), Larissa Bogoraz and Pavel Litvinov (1968), Mustafa Dzemilyev and Ilya Gabai (1969-1970). She was prevented from defending Vladimir Bukovsky in 1971, Sergei Kovalyov in 1975 and (Natan) Anatoly Sharansky in 1975.

In 1977, Kaminskaya and her husband, the renowned law expert K.M. Simis, were interrogated by the KGB and under threat of arrest forced to emigrate to the USA.

In emigration, Dina Kaminskaya wrote her memoirs “Zapiski advokata” [“Notes of a Lawyer”], was a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group and broadcast on the radio stations “Radio Svoboda” [“Radio Liberty”] and “Voice of America”. 

The Board of the International Society “Memorial” express their deepest sorrow at the passing of Dina Kaminskaya.

Dina Isaakovna will always remain for us a symbol of the struggle for Right and Justice. We will never forget the enormous role she played in the development of the human rights movement in our country.

Many of us did not have the fortune to know Dina Isaakovna in person, but this does not prevent our feeling deepest respect and love.  From the accounts of her friends, from her radio broadcasts, from others’ memoirs, as well as from her own book, one has the wonderful image of an intelligent, courageous, firm person of extraordinary charm. A person who feels very close. It is this image that we will endeavour to retain and cherish.

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