Dov Schperling (17 December 1937- 5 March 2014) Prisoner of Zion and Jewish freedom fighter.
Born in 1937 in Riga, Latvia . His father, Samuel ( Sasha ) was a soldier in the Latvian army and his mother was a housewife . In 1956 , while he was a student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Riga, he heard about the Israeli "Operation Kadesh" . This affected him deeply, he began to be an active Zionist and the Land of Israel became the center of his world. Dov began to distribute material about the land of Israel and the Jewish people to Jews of his age . As a result, he was arrested in 1957 on charges of "Zionist propaganda " and sent to a prison labor camp in Mordovia in central Russia .
Dov was imprisoned for two years in the camp, where he met other dissidents, including Joseph Schneider, David Chavkin and Alec ( Elhanan ) Feldman , maintaining contact with them throughout his life . In the camp, his bond with Judaism and the Zionist ideal grew and he began studying Hebrew. When he returned to Riga in 1959, he became a prominent figure in the Zionist underground in the city. Along with other idealists like him, he copied Zionist writings, including "Exodus", and distributed the material to many areas in the USSR.
After Dov managed to immigrate to Israel in 1968, he continued to fight for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel , even when the methods of this struggle were not accepted by the Israeli establishment. Dov rallied the 'University Students Association' to his struggle, organized rallies , met with key figures across the country and used the media and other means to enable the immigration of Russian Jews to Israel .
During the late 60's and early 70's Dov Schperling traveled to different cities in the world to hold demonstrations , often unconventional , and campaigns for freedom of emigration to Israel . In 1970, he flew to New York, along with fellow immigration activist Jacob Kedmi (Yasha Kazakov), where they held a nine day hunger strike in front of the United Nations. The strike made waves in Israel and around the world, during which Kedmi used the slogan "Let my people go", which became the symbol of the struggle for Jewish immigration. During the next few years, Dov was active in the Cherut [Israeli right wing] Central Committee. In 1979 he joined the Department for Soviet Union Immigration of the Jewish Agency. Later on, Dov was the head of the Jewish agency delegation in Vienna, and the head of the Jewish agency travel department.
In 1973 Dov Schperling Married Ella Clear and had their daughter Rachel and their sons Schmuel and Yair. After retiring from the Jewish Agency, he received an award from the “Hayesod” foundation for his struggle for Soviet Jewry, was interviewed by the Israeli Kneset channel, and appeared in a television event in honor of Geula Cohen. Dov Schperling died from cancer in 2014. A memorial event was held in the “Beit Jabotinsky” institute , hosted by the head of the institute, Mr. Yossi Achimeir. Dov was mourned by Silva Zalmanson, Jacov Kedmi, Geula Cohen [which due to her medical condition sent a letter that was read in the event], Friends and his sons Schmuel and Yair.
In 2019 the "Dov Schperling Plaza" was inaugurated outside the central station in Jerusalem.
כיכר דב שפרלינג, Ha-Tsvi Street, Jerusalem, Israel