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This pioneering study also illuminates the reshaping of gender relations on the Jewish street and explores Jewish everyday life and identity during the years of the Great Terror.


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She is editor with Margherita Pascucci of Conzeniana, a series in Yiddish literature and culture. It does not follow the well-trodden paths, and does not employ the phraseology frequently found in books on Soviet Jewry.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

This study opens up vistas for additional work that will be written in its spirit. It successfully analyzes the deep social and cultural processes that took place in Soviet Jewry. She convincingly shows that Sovietization was a complex and often tense process of negotiation, with Red Army soldiers eating kosher meat, fist fights breaking out after synagogue confiscations, and men wondering if their wives were secretly circumcising their children.

A great contribution. Mining hitherto inaccessible archives, she deftly links larger historical processes to the changes in the lives of ordinary—and some extraordinary—Jews in one of the great centers of Yiddish culture and Judaism.


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Judiciously using photographs and the prose and poetry of the time, Bemporad vividly shows that tradition exerted a powerful influence even in Soviet times but was eventually defeated by the combination of attractive new opportunities, in intensive resocialization, and terror. Bemporad modifies old stereotypes about the rapid assimilation of Soviet Jews in the interwar period.

This is wonderful book that is clear, well-argued, and beautifully written.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (Jewish Cultures of the World)

Becoming Soviet Jews is a rich and engaging portrayal of a previously overlooked period and place. Bemporad does not simply rehearse archival material for its own sake. Rather, she brings a wealth of sources to support each of her arguments. Most important, the focus on daily experience complements other approaches and offers a fuller understanding of Jewish Minsk during the first two decades of Soviet rule. How this rapid transformation took place in one city, Minsk, is the subject of Elissa Bemporad's fine book.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (Jewish Cultures of the World)

Although technically the focus of this book is on social history, it is also an important contribution to the history of Jewish religion in the USSR. On the basis of extensive research in Belarusian historical archives, Yiddish and Russian newspapers, memoirs in Yiddish, Russian, and Hebrew, and other sources, Bemporad shows that despite the Soviet attack on synagogues and on Jewish political organizations. Jewish culture and identity survived and even, in some respects, thrived, during this period. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Through Soviet Jewish Eyes Photography, War, and the Holocaust Jewish Cultures of the World

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LOG IN. In this Book. Additional Information. Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust.

This passionate work tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives. Table of Contents. Frontmatter Download Save. Contents p.