From the Great Terror to the Terror in 1941: The Case of Yiddish Writers in Soviet Belorussia
The article focuses on the repressions against Minsk Yiddish writers
in 1936-41 and analyzes them in context of, first, the status of
Yiddish in Soviet Belorussia and, second, the general policy of
purges under the Stalinist regime. The majority of the arrests and
executions took place during the final months of 1937. However,
also in 1941, on the eve of the Soviet-German phase of World
War II, several Yiddish authors had been detained by the secret
police. Among the victims were the most significant Yiddish
writers of the republic Izi Kharik, Moyshe Kulbak, and Zelik
Akselrod. Compared with Moscow, Kyiv, and Kharkiv, the Yiddish
literary circles of Minsk sustained the heaviest devastation.
The article reviews social context of repressions during the Great Purge. The main focus is made on the specific features of terror's events, specifically - on the interpretation of social ties as a basis of "counter-revolutionary organizations". This interpretation turned prisoners' relationships with neighbors, colleagues and personal friends into acts of conspiracy. The author proves the struggle of the government against informal ties between participants of political, economical and cultural institutions. Political campaign against "clans", "workingmen's cooperatives" etc. served as a basis for social politics of RCP(b) and AUCP(b) in the 1920s-1930s. The Great Purge was aimed to deconstruct existed both professional and personal social relationships between Soviet citizens. It was a basis for production of atomized individuals and as cogs in state's machine. The destruction of existing social ties allowed the power to organize new social politics aimed to organize the society into productive "collectivity". Pressure against other forms of association whether they were territorial, based on friendship and even kinship, was proclaimed to be the war against "gruppovschina". The purpose of total collectivization of the society required terror and repressions.
Pкeface and commentary, accompanying the publication of a historical document - a letter by Vil I.Zeifman addressed to supervising party bodies, that demands full rehabilitation; the author of the letter was repressed in 1949 after he had organised the industrial production of penicillin in the USSR; among the persons with whom Zeifman has had professional contacts, are mentioned, in particular, E. Chain and A. Mikoyan; comments are based on the materials from the family archive and personal file of V. I. Zeifman in the archives of the FSB.
The article analyzes the evidence of the extremal tourists about their visit in the late 1980s-1990s the so-called "Dead Road". Based on the reports of the expeditions visiting the remains of the railway and GULAG camps, the article investigate’s reasons for the interest of tourists to these objects, their perception of material evidence of repression, knowledge of the latter and attitudes towards them.
The discussions on the nature of inter-ethnic relations, and the degree of the various ethnic groups` involvement in the process of establish the Soviet regime in the Eastern Polish territory in 1939-1941 do not lose its relevance. Dividing the local population on the ethnical basis, we can conclude, that while the Polish population certainly suffered from the Soviet repressions a lot; and while Belarusians suffered from repression significantly less; the local Jews were victims and executioners at the same time. This article deals with highlighting of that phenomenon basing both on personal and Soviet archival accounts.
Review of the book "Children of the Gulag". This groundbreaking book offers a comprehensive documentary history of children whose parents were identified as enemies of the Soviet regime from its inception through Joseph Stalin's death. When parents were arrested, executed, or sent to the Gulag, their children also suffered. Millions of children, labeled "socially dangerous," lost parents, homes, and siblings. Co-edited by Cathy A. Frierson, a senior American scholar, and Semyon S. Vilensky, Gulag survivor and compiler of the Russian documents, the book offers documentary and personal perspectives.