Posts tagged Soviet Union.

Missing Pieces of the Holocaust: A History on Screen ›

Sunday, May 12, 2013 // 7:30pm
Buttenwieser Hall, Lexington Avenue at 92nd St, NY 

Images of the Holocaust have been iconic in the West, shaping and reflecting collective memory. But in the Soviet Union, the very notion of the Holocaust did not exist, and images of violence against Jews were silenced. Join Olga Gershenson as we explore these forgotten films and restore the missing pieces.

Limmud FSU Princeton 2013:
3-day Festival of Russian-Jewish Culture, Learning and Entertainment!

A truly unique event, organized and run entirely by volunteers, Limmud FSU has revolutionized pluralistic Jewish engagement of Russian-speaking Jews by involving them in an array of interactive workshops, intellectually-stimulating discussions, a festive Shabbat celebration, controversial debates, film screenings, artistic performances, music, dancing and much more.

Join us on March 15 – 17th, 2013 and experience the magic of Limmud FSU!

REGISTER // Questions? Contact

Olga Gershenson & Psoy Korolenko will be there, among many others!

(via Soviet Samovar)



Jews demonstrate outside the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 1973. Signs read “Let us Go to Israel”

Do you even know how much chutzpah that took given the time and place

Some of the signs say “Visas to Israel instead of jails”

These are Jewish refuseniks (individuals, typically Soviet Jews, denied exit visas by the Soviet Union).

(via bride-of-bucky)

Title: Baron von der Pshik (Барон фон дер Пшик) Artist: Leonid Utyosov 69 plays

"Baron von der Pshik" ("Барон фон дер Пшик") performed by Leonid Utyosov, 1945
Composed by Sholom Secunda, arranged by Orest Kandat, lyrics by Anatoly Fidrovsky
[download here]

There have been several songs with the tune [of “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”] in the Soviet UnionIn 1943, a Russian-language song for the music was produced with satirical anti-Nazi lyrics titled "Baron Fon Der Pshik" (“Барон фон дер Пшик”) by Anatoli Fidrovsky, music arrangement by Orest Kandat. Initially it was recorded by the jazz orchestra (director Nikolay Minkh) of the Baltic Fleet Theatre; later it was included into the repertoire of Leonid Utyosov's jazz orchestra. [x]

Lyrics in Russian and English:

Барон фон дер Пшик 
Покушать русский шпиг, 
Давно собирался и мечтал. 
Любил он очень шик, 
Стесняться не привык, 
Заранее о подвигах кричал. 

Орал по радио,
Что в Сталинграде он, 
Kак на параде он,
И ест он шпиг. 
Что ест он и пьет,
А шпиг подает 
Под клюквою развесистой мужик! 

Барон фон дер Пшик 
Забыл про русский штык, 
А штык бить баронов не отвык. 
И бравый фон дер Пшик 
Попал на русский штык - 
Не русский, а немецкий вышел шпиг.

Мундир без хлястика, 
Разбита свастика. 
А, ну-ка, влезьте–ка 
На русский штык!
Барон фон дер Пшик, 
Ну где твой прежний шик? 
Остался от барона только пшик! 

Baron von der Pshik
Long planned and dreamed
Of eating Russian bacon.
He loved his style,
Wasn’t used to being shy,
Screamed of his heroism in advance.

Yelled on the radio,
That he’s in Stalingrad,
As if he’s in a parade,
And he’s eating bacon.
That he eats and drinks,
And he’s served bacon,
By a man ender a cranberry tree!

Baron von der Pshik
Forgot about Russian bayonets,
But bayonets remember to hurt Barons.
And brave von der Pshik
Pushed himself onto a Russian bayonet -
And it turned out to be not a Russian, but a German pig.

Uniform without a strap,
A broken swastika.
C’mon, jump
On a Russian bayonet!
Baron von der Pshik,
Well, where is your former style?
All the Baron’s got left is zilch!

A bit of context to understand the translated lyrics (which, by the way, I tried to cobble together with my mom’s help and I welcome corrections!): the song’s repeated mentions of “Russian bacon” are a reference to Germans calling Russians “Russian swine.” A bayonet is a sword that fits over a rifle and turns the gun into a spear. So when the Baron leaps onto a Russian bayonet, “not a Russian, but a German pig” is supposed to mean that the Baron ‘caught’ on the bayonet is a ‘German swine.’

  January 29, 2013 at 06:19pm

Georgii Zelma, “The First Common Graves,” Stalingrad, 1942

A lonely image of a Soviet cemetery in Stalingrad, one of the many common graves that dotted the war-torn landscape, reminds us of the cost of war. Bedframes mark the edge of this place of death as a makeshift headstone with a Soviet star stands sentinel at the far end of the photograph. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

more on the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes exhibition


(via hypocrite-lecteur)

Dmitri Baltermants, “Grief,” Kerch, Crimea, January 1942 

One of the earliest Holocaust liberation photographs, Grief was originally a news photograph that circulated widely in the Soviet press throughout 1942. At the time it was taken, the photographer, Dmitrii Baltermants, was documenting Nazi atrocities for a traumatized Soviet population. Soviet wire services sent the image around the world, but few news outlets picked it up, fearing that the photograph was Soviet propaganda. The image re-appeared in the 1960s, when the Soviet Union began remembering World War II, or the Great Patriotic War as it was known there, as the great triumph of Communism. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

more on the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes exhibition

(via gotochelm)

Dmitri Baltermants, “Behind Enemy Lines,” 1941

A formation of Soviet cavalrymen is in fact of partisan units, risking their lives by riding out in the open. Baltermants’ photograph edifies the partisans, who played an important role in undermining the German occupation of parts of the Soviet Union. During and after the war, partisans were heralded as the bravest fighters against Nazi fighters, and the only ones living under German occupation untainted by the possibility of collaboration. (via TIME)

This photograph is part of the Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust exhibition, based on David Shneer’s book of the same name, on view at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage until April 7, 2013.

  December 25, 2012 at 12:22pm via TIME

I remember how the Jewish Communists closed the Jewish synagogue in Berdichev in 1929 or 1930. There was a synagogue near the sewage works. There were many synagogues in Berdichev, more than 130. There was a tailor’s synagogue. Some old Jews used to go there; they prayed minkhe and mayrev. It was a small synagogue.

Some younger children and I were walking around there. Suddenly, we saw many young people marching in the street. They were playing musical instruments. It was a small band. For us children, it was a big deal at that time so we all followed them. They were lined up in columns. They were wearing beautiful clothes, some green and blue, white shirts. At that time, the komyugistn [Young Communist League members] used to wear uniforms. They were approaching the synagogue. They came to the synagogue, and they stopped and played. After playing, they set up a platform and a table, and we, all children, were there, because we loved the band. One of them took out a paper and read aloud that religion was not good, and that the synagogue is evil, too. “We, the members of the Young Communist League, voted that the synagogue disturbed our work and was harmful to youth so it had to be closed.” So, some people went into the synagogue and they kicked out the old Jews who were praying there. The old Jews went out; they said they were not able to fight with Jews. All the young men were Jewish. After that, the komyugistn took a board, a hammer and some nails, and shut the door and put a notice on the front of the synagogue that it was closed by resolution of the Communist Youth Organization of the clothing factory. That was it. From that moment on, the synagogue did not exist any more.

Ian D., oral testimony in Anna Shternshis’ Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939

"Some Were Poets, All Were Martyrs" ›

The 50th Anniversary of Stalin’s Murderous Assault on Jewish Culture

By Joshua Rubenstein
Forward, 08/09/2002

Fifty years ago, on August 12, 1952, Joseph Stalin’s henchmen executed the cream of the Soviet Jewish literary and intellectual world on trumped-up charges of espionage and sedition. The event is remembered in Jewish communities around the world as the Night of the Murdered Yiddish Poets, the culmination of Stalin’s murderous assault on Jewish culture and Yiddish literature.

But that is a myth. The truth is less poetic and far more grim. In reality, only a handful of those put to death that day were poets or writers. What the victims of this secret pogrom had in common was that they were all members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, the last national Jewish organization permitted to exist under Soviet communism. Their “crime” was that they attempted to speak for their people. Their death was the culmination of Stalin’s war against Jewish communal life.

When we understand that this was more than an assault against Yiddish literature, more than just another episode of murderous antisemitism in the Soviet Union, then we can begin to grasp the magnitude of this event in the history of the Soviet Union and its troubled relationship with its Jewish community.

  August 13, 2012 at 01:16pm


The Jewish Autonomous Region by D. Bergelson (1939)

A pamphlet about the “Soviet Zion” in Birobidzhan apparently distributed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

You can read the whole pamphlet online.