Masha Gessen: “Where the Jews aren’t”

 

Agustín Cosovschi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the University of San Martín (Buenos Aires). His interests include Eastern European history and culture, intellectual history and political theory.

@cosovschi

 

 

 

Masha Gessen
Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of BirobidzhanRussia’s Jewish Autonomous Region
New York: Penguin Random House (Nextbook/Schocken), 2016

Drawing from biographies, memories and works of Russian history, the authors reconstructs the history of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Birobidzhan,  a far East administrative unit of the Russian Federation. This project, which was originally supposed to offer a socialist alternative to deal with the Jewish national question in the USSR, turned ended up becoming a memorial of Stalinist repression and censorship. Through the history of Birobidzhan, Gessen has managed to show some of the central dilemmas of Jewish identity in modern times and to shed light on an aspect of Soviet history very often overlooked.

 

Music:

“Kallarash Freylekhs” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band
“Sketches of Freylekhland” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band

Released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license

 

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