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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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).
Title: Baron von der Pshik (Барон фон дер Пшик)
Artist: Leonid Utyosov
“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
There have been several songs with the tune [of “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”] in the Soviet Union. In 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,
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.
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.’
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)
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.
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.