Photos from Israel’s ex-Soviet community. Oded Balilty.
ISRAEL, SOVIET STYLE
After the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, more than 1 million of its citizens took advantage of Jewish roots to flee to Israel.
Israel has the world’s third-largest Russian-speaking community outside the former Soviet Union. About one in five Israelis are Russian emigres, and they occupy virtually every corner of Israeli society.
By virtue of their sheer numbers and their tenacity in clinging to their culture and their old way of life, these immigrants have transformed the face of Israel. They live in the Middle East, but their lives are Eastern European.
[more photos at the link above]
Photographs of Eastern European Jewish communities, taken between 1935-1938, by Roman Vishniac.
notes on the images:
photo two and three: Jewish labourers in Verkhneye Vodyanoye, Ukraine, Zakarpats’ka (then Vysni Apsa, Czechoslovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia).
photo eight: Portrait of the wife of Nat Gutman, a porter, Warsaw.
photo nine: Malnourished child eating a crust of bread in the TOZ (Society for Safeguarding the Health of the Jewish Population) summer camp in Otwock, near Warsaw. The Society for Safeguarding the Health of the Jewish Population (TOZ) was established in Warsaw in 1921 to unite the Polish branches of the Saint Petersburg–based Society for the Protection of Jewish Health (OZE). TOZ promoted preventive measures against infectious disease, such as smallpox vaccines, and also addressed the socioeconomic roots of disease, including pervasive poverty, malnutrition, and unsanitary living conditions. Vishniac photographed TOZ’s headquarters in Warsaw and summer camps in Slonim and Otwock to assist with their fundraising efforts and to promote the activities of the camp to Jewish donors abroad. With the support of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC), TOZ continued to operate after the German invasion of Poland, and attempted to continue its activities in the Nazi ghettos in Poland until 1942. Vishniac’s reflection, holding his Rolleiflex camera, can be seen in the young girl’s eyes.
photo ten: A Jewish boy with cattle, Carpathian Ruthenia.
more Roman Vishniac
(and more info on TOZ and OZE)
Jewish-Russian photographer Roman Vishniac’s daughter, Mara, as a young girl, poses in front of Nazi propaganda posters in Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 1933. The poster depicting Hindenburg and Hitler reads: “The marshal and the corporal: fight with us for peace and equal rights”.
more Roman Vishniac
The forgotten Jews of the Red Army
About 500,000 Jews served in the Soviet Red Army during World War II. Most of those still alive today — about 7,000 — are said to live in Israel.
1) Boris Ginsburg joined partisans for two years and in 1944 he joined the Red Army as a combat soldier and fought till the and of the war.
2) Nahum Matovich, 87, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Matovich was an air force bomber pilot on Ilyushin Il-4 bomber in the Soviet 18th Air Army and fought in Japan and Korea. He immigrated to Israel from Kishinev, today’s Moldova, in 1994.
3) Yaakov Vilkovich, 90, poses for a portrait at his house in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. Vilkovich joined the Red Army in 1941, served in the 31st Army’s infantry battalion and fought in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. He immigrated to Israel in 1998.
Portrait of a boy with a toothache, Slonim, 1935-38. Photo by Roman Vishniac.
more Roman Vishniac
Attendees of the First Meeting of the Presidium of Soviet Jewish Writers, 1929. Photo by S. Shingaryov.
Standing (L-R): Shmuel-Nisn Godiner, Note Lurye, Moyshe Litvakov, M. Daniel, Arn Kushnirov, M. Kuhlbach. Sitting (L-R): I. Feder, Izi Kharik, Alexander Fadeyev (not Jewish, so obvious from the photo), Perets Markish, D. Bronstein.
See the reverse side of the photograph here.
Jewish wedding, St. Petersburg, 1900’s.
Kadya Molodowsky recites one of her poems for Chekow in her Grand street spartment during the winter of 1970.
Photo by Arnold Chekow
(via Yiddish Book Center)
more Kadya Molodowsky