The Destruction of Jewish Art in the USSR

November 1, 2022 Cambridge Free
(Photo: Bepsimage/iStock)
(Photo: Bepsimage/iStock)

For half a century, the Soviet authorities sought to marginalize and eliminate Jewish art and culture, brutally forcing artists into the rigid confines of Socialist Realism. Discussion of the Holocaust, with few notable exceptions, was not allowed. Those who resisted perished—their work was destroyed or hidden away in closed archives. Despite the odds, Jewish art not only persisted but continued to flourish. Kultur-Lige, a Jewish movement that originated in Kyiv in 1918, expanded to become an international phenomenon in the 1920s. Its artists created a radically new avant-garde representing secular Jewish culture. The experiment was short-lived. Kultur-Lige closed in 1930. In 1932, Joseph Stalin banned independent artistic groups, and soon thereafter, countless Jews perished during the Great Terror and the Holocaust.

This edition of the Sakharov Seminar on Human Rights discusses attempts after 1945 by a new generation of artists to come to terms with the extreme repression of Jewish culture and Jewish life under Soviet and Nazi rule.

The event speaker will be independent writer Yelena Lembersky, and the moderator will be Mark Kramer, director of the Cold War Studies Project. The talk is open to the public. It will take place in room S354.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
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Cambridge, MA 02138

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