In the Shadow of the Shtetl
252 pages

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252 pages
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Winner, 2014 Canadian Jewish Book Awards, history category

Related site: AHEYM The Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories (AHEYM—the acronym means "homeward" in Yiddish) is a linguistic and oral history project that includes Yiddish language interviews with approximately 380 people, most of whom were born between the 1900s and the 1930s. These interviews are the basis for In the Shadow of the Shtetl. Podcast: Yiddish Book Center Book trailer:

The story of how the Holocaust decimated Jewish life in the shtetls of Eastern Europe is well known. Still, thousands of Jews in these small towns survived the war and returned afterward to rebuild their communities. The recollections of some 400 returnees in Ukraine provide the basis for Jeffrey Veidlinger's reappraisal of the traditional narrative of 20th-century Jewish history. These elderly Yiddish speakers relate their memories of Jewish life in the prewar shtetl, their stories of survival during the Holocaust, and their experiences living as Jews under Communism. Despite Stalinist repressions, the Holocaust, and official antisemitism, their individual remembrances of family life, religious observance, education, and work testify to the survival of Jewish life in the shadow of the shtetl to this day.

Note on Translation
1. The Shtetl: A Historical Landscape
2.The Scars of Revolution
3.Social Structure of the Soviet Shtetl
4.Growing Up in Yiddish
5.The Sanctuary of the Synagogue
6.Religion of the Home: Food and Faith
7.Life and Death in Reichkommissariat Ukraine
8. Life Beyond the River: Transnistria
9. A Kind of Victory
Brief Biographies



Publié par
Date de parution 01 novembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253011527
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

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This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press Office of Scholarly Publishing Herman B Wells Library 350 1320 East 10th Street Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
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© 2013 by Jeffrey Veidlinger
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses’ Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48–1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Veidlinger, Jeffrey, 1971– author. In the shadow of the shtetl : small-town Jewish life in Soviet Ukraine / Jeffrey Veidlinger. pages ; cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-253-01151-0 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-253-01152-7 (ebook) 1. Shtetls— Ukraine—History—20th century. 2. Shtetls—Ukraine—Vinnyts’ka oblast’— History—20th century. 3. Jews—Ukraine—Social life and customs—20th century. 4. Jews—Ukraine—Vinnyts’ka oblast’—Social life and customs—20th century. I. Title. DS135.U4V45 2013 305.892’404778—dc23 2013014359
1 2 3 4 5 18 17 16 15 14 13
For those who shared their stories with us.
Memory Longing Has many faces Many faces and expressions And each and every one of them Surprises and suppresses. But you, You collect faces, Safekeeping their tone and timbre, So that nobody Will ever Quarrel again With memory.
Acknowledgments Introduction Note on Translation
1 The Shtetl: A Historical Landscape 2 The Scars of Revolution 3 Social Structure of the Soviet Shtetl 4 Growing Up in Yiddish 5 The Sanctuary of the Synagogue 6 Religion of the Home: Food and Faith 7 Life and Death in Reichskommissariat Ukraine 8 Life beyond the River: Transnistria 9 A Kind of Victory Conclusion
Brief Biographies Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index
Publication of this book is supported by a grant from JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER HARTFORD
When I first started searching for Jewish life in the small towns of Eastern Europe, the shtetls of Yiddish lore, I thought I would find only cemeteries and dilapidated homes, lifeless remnants of a vanished community. Instead, over the last decade, in dozens of shtetls throughout Eastern Europe, I have taken part in oral history interviews with nearly four hundred Yiddish-speakers, who have shared their memories of Jewish life in the prewar shtetl, their stories of survival during the Holocaust, and their experiences of living as Jews under communism. This book recounts some of their stories. The story of how the Holocaust decimated Jewish life in the small towns, the shtetls, of Eastern Europe is well known. But it is a story that has been told exclusively by those who left—for America, Israel, or the major cities of the Russian interior—during or immediately after the war. These writers long assumed that nothing remained of the shtetls they abandoned; they variously portray their hometowns as “lost,” 1 “vanished” or “erased.” The shtetl has always been presented as an erstwhile space, an ur-homeland from which the Jewish people emerged. Sometimes this emergence is presented as a physical migration, as in “from the shtetl to the suburbs,” and sometimes as an ideological awakening, as in “from the shtetl to 2 socialism,” and often as both. It is a tragic reality that the Nazis destroyed most of small-town Jewish life in Eastern Europe, murdering millions of Jews in the process, and leaving only vestigial remnants of what had once been vibrant market towns. Yet tens of thousands of small-town Jews survived the war—in hiding, in evacuation, or in ghettos and camps—and then returned to rebuild their hometowns. Living in the shadows of the shtetl, they rebuilt their lives, reconstructed their communities, and refashioned their memories. These small-town communities, which survived mostly in Soviet Ukraine, were completely 3 unknown to the outside world until the fall of the Iron Curtain. Their continued existence, and the way their residents remember the last century, complicates the traditional narrative of twentieth-century Jewish history. The assimilated Soviet Jewish intelligentsia based primarily in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and 4 occasionally in Odessa or Kiev, has come to define Soviet Jewry for the world. Memoirs and biographies of Soviet Jewishrefusniks,scientists, engineers, teachers, and commissars give dissidents, the impression that they represented the extent of the Soviet Jewish community, and help perpetuate the 5 image of the Soviet Jew as a dissident intellectual. Scholarly writings on the Jewish experience in the twentieth-century Soviet Union also focus overwhelmingly on big-city life in general and on the elite in 6 particular. This trend culminated with Yuri Slezkine’sThe Jewish Century,influential and an provocative text that frames the twentieth-century Jewish experience as one of movement from the 7 peripheral shtetls to the very center of cultural, economic, and political life. Historians have privileged upwardly mobile Jews who reached the pinnacles of power; those who remained in their ancestral lands, 8 often languishing in poverty, have been left out of the historical record. Jewish collective memory has imagined the shtetl as a foil, or simply a wellspring from which Jewish modernity emerged. The Jewish cobblers, market-stall proprietors, barbers, and collective farmers who remained in the small towns and rural areas of Eastern Europe until the dawn of the twenty-first century were conveniently forgotten; they did not conform to the nostalgic image of “the shtetl” with its “simple and pious way of life” that inspired numerous works of literary fiction, Broadway plays, Hollywood films, and academic scholarship. This study follows the lives of a cohort of individuals, all of whom were reared in the shtetls during the early years of the Soviet Union and were just starting out their adult lives when the world as they knew it was shaken and eventually destroyed with the Nazi invasion. The oldest were born in the midst of the First World War and the violence of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. Many lived with traumatic memories of those early childhood moments their entire lives. Once the fighting subsided in 1921, they witnessed a period of intense change and material shortage as a new communist government overturned the social fabric of the community and sought to revolutionize daily life. Many of them enrolled in the newly established Yiddish-language schools only to switch schools—and languages—halfway through their education. They survived the forcible collectivization of agriculture that devastated the village economy and food distribution system, and witnessed the deportation and arrests of some 300,000 villagers, who were sent to so-called special settlements in Siberia, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere in Russia. The turmoil that collectivization wrought, combined with a deliberate policy of starvation to subjugate the restless region, led to the Great Famine of 1932–1933, in which at least 3.3 million people starved to
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