Transatlantic Russian Jewishness
In the early decades of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of Yiddish speaking immigrants actively participated in the American Socialist and labor movement. They formed the milieu of the hugely successful daily Forverts (Forward), established in New York in April 1897. Its editorial columns and bylined articles—many of whose authors, such as Abraham Cahan and Sholem Asch, were household names at the time—both reflected and shaped the attitudes and values of the readership. Most pages of this book are focused on the newspaper’s reaction to the political developments in the home country. Profound admiration of Russian literature and culture did not mitigate the writers’ criticism of the czarist and Soviet regimes.
The question of how to deal with cultural property or looted property held “in trust” concerns libraries, archives, museums, and Jewish institutions. While ordinary kinds of acquisition in cultural institutions, i.e. purchases, donations, deposit copies or exchanges, have been examined within the scope of NS provenance research, another type of transaction has been mostly overlooked so far. It concerns the transfer of objects with conditions attached, with institutions accepting items “in trust”, as loans or as legacies, or objects being allocated to institutions by the state, which occurred as part of NS book and art looting as well as in the course of later political developments. This volume showcases how cultural objects held “in trust” have been dealt with so far and, in an interdisciplinary debate, discusses how to approach this issue in a structured manner as well as the requirements, chances and limits of appropriate measures.
The volume consists of 27 essays dedicated to Vladimir Khazan, the leading specialist in Russian-Jewish relationship and in the study of 20th century Russian literature. The essays deal with Blok, Bely, Akhmatova, Babel, Jabotinsky, Remizov, and Nabokov. The volume introduces unknown documents and facts that elucidate new aspects of Polish-Russian, German-Russian, Russian-Baltic, and Russian-French literary contacts, reveal unknown details about post-Stalinist Soviet "samizdat" and the story of publication of Pasternak’s "Doctor Zhivago". Among the contributors are such distinguished scholars as Konstantin Azadovsky, Oleg Budnitskii, Stefano Garzonio, Mirja Lecke, Leonid Livak, Magnus Ljunggren, Paolo Mancosu, Piotr Mitzner, Boris Ravdin, and Roman Timenchik.
The memoirs of Jewish amateur writer P. Vengerova and Russian writer/educator E. Vodovozova have many commonalities in their plot lines. Yet the approaches of the memoirists towards the description of their childhood were different. While Vengerova builds her memoirs on the myth of the Golden Age of Jewish authenticity lost in the course of assimilation, Vodovozova perceived her childhood against the foil of Russian serf-ownership. The strategies and methods of the writers derived from their approaches.