ARC Publication: Elissa Bemporad
Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets
(Oxford Scholarship Online, 2019)
This book traces the legacies of the two classical and most extreme manifestations of tsarist antisemitism — pogroms and blood libels — in the Soviet Union, from 1917 to the early 1960s. Closely intertwined in history and memory, pogroms and blood libels were and are considered central to the Jewish experience in late Tsarist Russia. But their persistence and memory under the Bolsheviks — a chapter that is largely overlooked by the existing scholarship — significantly shaped the Soviet Jewish experience. By exploring the phenomenon and the memory of pogroms and blood libels in the Soviet territories of the interwar period as well as after World War II, in the newly annexed territories, this book studies the social realities of everyday antisemitism through the emergence of communities of violence and memories of violence. The fifty-year-span from the Bolshevik Revolution to the early years of Khrushchev included a living generation of Jews and non-Jews alike, who either experienced or remembered the Beilis Affair, the pogroms of the civil war, and in some cases even the violence of the pre-revolutionary years. By tracing the “afterlife” of pogroms and blood libels in the USSR, this book sheds light on the broader question of the changing position of Jews in Soviet society. And by doing so it tells the story of the solid yet ever changing and at times ambivalent relationship between the Soviet state and the Jewish minority group.
Bemporad holds the Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust and is a professor of history at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a former ARC Distinguished Scholar.
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Submitted on: DEC 18, 2019
Category: ARC Publications | Faculty Books