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Immigrant Songs: Seattle Symphony Violinist Mikhail Shmidt Used to Busk in Rome

by Rich Smith Huge numbers of Jews fled the collapsing (and virulently anti-Semitic) Soviet Union during the late 1980s and '90s. Mikhail "Misha" Shmidt was one of them. He describes a two-tier immigration system. If you could get out of the country, you'd first travel to Vienna, Austria. There you'd apply to the US as a refugee. Then you'd move on to Rome, Italy, where you'd wait for an interview.
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