Russian Jews in the Turmoil of History: Three Ages of Stalinism

April 29, 2020 Cambridge Free 0
(Photo: Racide/iStock)
(Photo: Racide/iStock)

Professor Luba Jurgenson, a leading French cultural historian of Stalinism and the Gulag, presents a reflection on the destinies of Jews during Stalinist terror.

In examining Jewish life during three eras of Stalinism, Jurgenson will read Soviet and Jewish history through the lenses of three prominent writers: the memoirist and chronicler of the Great Terror Evgenia Ginzburg (1904-1977), the political philosopher, Zionist activist and memoirist Julius (Yuly) Margolin (1900-1971) and the great Yiddish poet and playwright Peretz Markish (1895-1952).

All three were victims of Stalinist repression at key moments in Soviet history: the Great Terror, the beginning of WWII and the postwar anti-Semitic campaign. By tracing the turbulent and tragic paths of these writers, Jurgenson’s lecture will analyze Jewish survival and death in the USSR and investigate Stalinist attitudes and policies toward the Jewish population.

With Luba Jurgenson (Université Paris-Sorbonne) and Maxim D. Shrayer (Boston College; Davis Center).

Luba Jurgenson is a writer, translator and full professor at the Department of Slavic Studies of Université Paris-Sorbonne, where she directs the research center Eur’ORBEM (Center of Interdisciplinary Research on Central, Eastern and Balkan Europe). Jurgenson also heads the research seminar “Narrative, Fiction, History,” associated with the Center de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (CRAL, EHESS) and serves as a member of the editorial board of the magazine Memories at Stake and of the Interdisciplinary Inventory of Notions and Concepts of the Testimony and Memory Areas (with Philippe Mesnard).

Maxim D. Shrayer, born and raised in Moscow, is a bilingual author, scholar and translator. A professor of Russian, English and Jewish studies at Boston College, Shrayer serves as director of the Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry at Harvard’s Davis Center. Shrayer authored and edited over 15 books in English and Russian, among them the internationally acclaimed memoirs “Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story” and “Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration,” the double biography “Bunin and Nabokov: A History of Rivalry,” the Holocaust study “I SAW IT” and the travelogue “With or Without You.”

Cosponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. The Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

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