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Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day

November 12, 2017 / Comments Off on Looking to the Soviet past to understand Remembrance Day
My grandfather (and his siblings) as a Red Army soldier at the outset of WWII, in approximately 1941.

I properly met my maternal grandparents for the first time shortly before my 10th birthday. Until then, they had been photographs and letters I couldn’t read and Russian storybooks that arrived periodically in the mail. They were the sound of my parents shouting down the telephone line, because in the long ago 1980s people sounded…

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Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

November 11, 2013 / Comments Off on Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive
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Kristallnacht on Twitter post - interior of burnt synagogue in Berlin

This weekend was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of the Broken Glass, when thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were ransacked and destroyed across Germany. Ninety-one Jews died that night. That was the night of November 9/10, 1938. (Awkward anniversary tie-in – on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.) Media…

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Reclaiming the Soviet Holocaust film industry: My article in Tablet

June 13, 2013 / Comments Off on Reclaiming the Soviet Holocaust film industry: My article in Tablet
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Soviet Holocaust films - Olga Gershenson's Phantom Holocaust Review

I’m very excited about my latest article for Tablet on a new book about Soviet Holocaust films. The book is called The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe, by Olga Gershenson. (Yes, that’s the book I was reading while waiting to pick up my visa application.) I’m not sure I did justice to the…

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An A-Z of Russian hospitality to Jews for Shimon Peres: The outtakes

December 5, 2012 / 4 Comments
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Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance logo - Peres at Jewish Museum in Moscow

You might have heard something about Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Jewish museum in Moscow? It’s just opened and Peres was among the important so-and-so’s in attendance. At some point in the proceedings, overcome with emotions dredged up from childhood, he opened his mouth and and the following came out: “My mother sang to me in…

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Wind of no change and KGB anniversaries

July 13, 2012 / Comments Off on Wind of no change and KGB anniversaries

Last week, after my post on Hammer and Tickle, I looked up “Wind of Change”, which is featured in the documentary. For those of you not schooled in the nuances of hipness, this is one of those songs one never admits to have stuck in your head. Or to have looked up on YouTube. I…

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Public and private during war: YouTube vs Soviet street announcements

July 11, 2012 / 1 Comment
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Soviet citizens listen in Moscow as Molotov announces German invasion of USSR on June 22, 1941. Photo taken by Soviet-Jewish photograher, Yevgeny Khaldei.

Found: Surprise soldier homecoming videos, an entire YouTube phenomenon I never knew existed. Basically, American soldiers who plan to surprise their families with an unexpected homecoming. Usually in public, with a videographer in tow, often from a local TV station. There is an endless reel of these videos, and you can watch them for hours without…

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