Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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HOFFMAN /JEWISH SAMIZDAT
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D om a lsk i i (p s e u d o n ym fo r M ich ae l B a i t a l s k i i ) ,11 an d B .
Khazanov (“ Novoe Rossiia ,” vol. 10, no. 7, p. 114).
Memoirs in the jo u rn a l speak forcefu lly o f the hazards o f Soviet
Jew ish existence in such d isparate areas as the battlefield and the
arts. Among the most moving are rem iniscences o f the Yiddish
actor Solomon Mikhoels (vol. 12, no. 11) and o f the H ungar ian
playwright Yakov Sternberg (vo. 12, no. 11).
Fiction is uneven. In some cases the value o f a work lies in its
presentation o f Jew ish themes. O ther writings possess genu ine
artistic interest — Feliks Kandel’s satiric sketches on the d ifficu l­
ties o f leaving the U SSR ; Svetlana Shenbrunn ’s “My B ro th e r”
(vol. 13, no. 12); B. Khazanov ’s “T h e K ing ’s H ou r ,” a fictionalized
account o f the Danish king’s response to the Nazi persecution o f
Danish Jew s (vol. 11, no. 9); and Isaac G ind is ’ (u n d e r the
pseudonym A. Shoikhet) “Story o f the Shtetl o f Chernopo l” (vol.
21, no. 17). T ran s la ted material favors accounts o f Jew ish bravery
and self-assertion , such as Michael Elkin ’s Forged in Fury (an
account o f a Jew ish organization which sough t to root out Nazi
criminals at large in the postwar period) and William Stevenson ’s
Ninety Minutes to Entebbe.
Many volumes o f Jews in the USSR also contain documen tary
material relating either to the aliya strugg le or anti-Semitism in
the Soviet Union. Various bibliographical lists o f fe r suggestions
for those who want to further their Jew ish knowledge on their
own.
Th e ed itors provide also a wide range o f non-Jewish material:
Essays by the democratic liberal Roy Medvedev, interviews with
philo- and anti-Semitic Russian orthodox spokesmen , and overtly
anti-Semitic writing by V. Emelianov. Th e se gentile views are
intended to help the Jew to define himself.
JEW ISH CULTURE EMPHASIZED
By the mid-seventies a shift had occurred in the Soviet Jew ish
movement. A fter the large-scale em igration in 1972 and 1973,
the annual em igration rate declined sharply. Th is change is re ­
11 A collection o f his essays in English, “New Developments in Anti-Semitism,”
can be found inAnti-Semitism in theSoviet Union. Its Roots and Consequences, vol. 1,
Jerusalem, 1979. A collection available only in Russian is Russkie evrei vchera i
segodnia, Jerusalem, 1975. Excerpts from his memoirs also appeared in samiz­
dat (vol. 21, no. 19) after his death.