The Story of a Life

Author: Anna Pavlovna Vygodskai︠a︡
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 9780875806716
Format: PDF, Docs
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Anna Pavlovna Vygodskaia's autobiography, originally published in 1938, is a rare and fascinating historical account of Jewish childhood and young adult life in Tsarist Russia. At a time when the vast majority of Jews resided in small market towns in the Pale of Settlement, Vygodskaia liberated herself from that world and embraced the day-to-day rhythms, educational activities, and new intellectual opportunities in the imperial capital of St. Petersburg. Her story offers a unique glimpse of Jewish daily life that is rarely documented in public sources--of neighborly interactions, children's games and household rituals, love affairs and emotional outbursts, clothing customs, and leisure time. Most first-person narratives of this kind reconstruct an isolated and self-contained Jewish world, but The Story of a Life uniquely describes the unprecedented social opportunities, as well as the many political and personal challenges, that young Jewish women and men experienced in the Russia of the 1870s and 1880s. In addition to their artful translation, Eugene M. Avrutin and Robert H. Greene thoroughly explicate this historical context in their introduction.

Memoirs of a Revolutionist

Author: Vera Figner
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780875805528
Format: PDF, Docs
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Born into the comforts of the Russian aristocracy in 1852, Vera Figner as a child harbored the fairy-tale dream of one day becoming tsarina. By the age of thirty-two, however, Figner had become one of Russia's most vocal revolutionaries, a terrorist and member of the Executive Committee of the People's Will party, and a prisoner sentenced for life for her involvement in the assassination of Alexander II. In this classic memoir, Figner recounts her journey from aristocrat to revolutionary, candidly relating the experiences that shaped her ideas and provoked her to political action and violence. As she reflects on her own lifelong commitment to improving the lives of ordinary Russians, she reveals much about the concept, structure, and leadership behind the radical movement in late nineteenth-century Russia. In his incisive introduction to this edition, Richard Stites discusses the importance of the memoir as a personal testimony and provides background for understanding a courageous woman's role in the struggle for political change.

Homes Away from Home

Author: Sarah Wobick-Segev
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 1503606546
Format: PDF, ePub
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How did Jews go from lives organized by synagogues, shul, and mikvehs to lives that—if explicitly Jewish at all—were conducted in Hillel houses, JCCs, Katz's, and even Chabad? In pre-emancipation Europe, most Jews followed Jewish law most of the time, but by the turn of the twentieth century, a new secular Jewish identity had begun to take shape. Homes Away From Home tells the story of Ashkenazi Jews as they made their way in European society in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the Jewish communities of Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg. At a time of growing political enfranchisement for Jews within European nations, membership in the official Jewish community became increasingly optional, and Jews in turn created spaces and programs to meet new social needs. The contexts of Jewish life expanded beyond the confines of "traditional" Jewish spaces into sites of consumption and leisure, sometimes to the consternation of Jewish authorities. Sarah Wobick-Segev argues that the social practices that developed between 1890 and the 1930s—such as celebrating holydays at hotels and restaurants, or sending children to summer camp—fundamentally reshaped Jewish community, redefining and extending the boundaries of where Jewishness happened.

Ritual Murder in Russia Eastern Europe and Beyond

Author: EUGENE M AVRUTIN
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253026571
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This innovative reassessment of ritual murder accusations brings together scholars working in history, folklore, ethnography, and literature. Favoring dynamic explanations of the mechanisms, evolution, popular appeal, and responses to the blood libel, the essays rigorously engage with the larger social and cultural worlds that made these phenomena possible. In doing so, the book helps to explain why blood libel accusations continued to spread in Europe even after modernization seemingly made them obsolete. Drawing on untapped and unconventional historical sources, the collection explores a range of intriguing topics: popular belief and scientific knowledge; the connections between antisemitism, prejudice, and violence; the rule of law versus the power of rumors; the politics of memory; and humanitarian intervention on a global scale.

Open Letters

Author: Alison Rowley
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 144264706X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In Open Letters, the most comprehensive study of Russian picture postcards to date, Alison Rowley uses this medium to explore a variety of aspects of Russian popular culture.

My Life as a Radical Jewish Woman

Author: Puah Rakovsky
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253215641
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Professional educator, Zionist activist, and feminist leader--Puah Rakovsky (1865-1955) was born under the Russian Empire and died in the independent country of Israel. No mere bystander to history, Rakovsky was an activist who assumed leadership roles in the public arenas of education and politics, founding the first Jewish girls' school in Warsaw and a national Jewish women's organization in 1920s Poland. In her memoir Rakovsky reflects on the position of Jewish women in her time and gives her personal and political perspective on central events of modern Jewish history from her childhood until her emigration to the Land of Israel in 1935. In this striking autobiography, published originally in Yiddish in 1954, Puah Rakovsky (1865-1955) tells of her experiences as a Jewish woman in late 19th- and early 20th-century Poland who broke with her traditional upbringing to become a professional educator, Zionist activist, and feminist leader. Her passionate account offers unprecedented entrée into the life experience of East European Jewry in a period of massive social change. Born into a rabbinic family in Bialystok, Rakovsky witnessed the flourishing of a variety of radical political movements, the birth of Zionism, and the devastation of World War I. No mere bystander, she assumed leadership roles in the public arenas of education and politics: she founded a pioneering Jewish girls' school in Warsaw and a national Jewish women's organization in 1920s Poland. In her memoir Rakovsky reflects on the position of Jewish women in her time and gives her personal and political perspective on central events of modern Jewish history from her childhood until her emigration to the Land of Israel in 1935.

Leaving Russia

Author: Maxim D. Shrayer
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
ISBN: 0815652437
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A memoir of coming of age and struggling to leave the USSR. Shrayer chronicles the triumphs and humiliations of a Soviet childhood and expresses the dreams and fears of a Jewish family that never gave up its hopes for a better life. Narrated in the tradition of Tolstoy’s confessional trilogy and Nabokov’s autobiography, this is a searing account of the KGB’s persecution of refuseniks, a poet’s rebellion against totalitarian culture, and Soviet fantasies of the West during the Cold War.

A Forgotten Land

Author: Lisa Cooper
Publisher: Urim Publications
ISBN: 9655242161
Format: PDF
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Based on recorded conversations Lisa Cooper’s father had with his mother, Pearl, about her early life in Ukraine, A Forgotten Land is the story of one Jewish family in the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, set within the wider context of pogroms, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and civil war. The book weaves personal tragedy and the little-known history of the period together as Pearl finds her comfortable family life shattered first by the early death of her mother and later by the Bolshevik Revolution and all that follows.

Behind Enemy Lines

Author: Marthe Cohn
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 9780307419880
Format: PDF, Mobi
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"[T]he amazing story of a woman who lived through one of the worst times in human history, losing family members to the Nazis but surviving with her spirit and integrity intact.” —Publishers Weekly Marthe Cohn was a young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz and the rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army and became a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army. Marthe, using her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé, would slip behind enemy lines to retrieve inside information about Nazi troop movements. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight--risking death every time she did so--she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders. When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had helped defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.

Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution

Author: Kenneth B. Moss
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674054318
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Between 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers across the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a "Jewish renaissance." Here is a brilliant, revisionist argument about the nature of cultural nationalism, the relationship between nationalism and socialism as ideological systems, and culture itself, the axis around which the encounter between Jews and European modernity has pivoted over the past century.