Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Yid­dish­land: A His­to­ry of Jew­ish Radicalism

Alain Brossat and Sylvia Klingberg
  • From the Publisher
July 12, 2016

They were on the bar­ri­cades from the avenues of Pet­ro­grad to the alleys of the War­saw ghet­to, from the anti-Fran­co strug­gle to the anti-Nazi resis­tance. Before the Holo­caust, Yid­dish­land was a vast expanse of East­ern Europe run­ning from the Baltic Sea to the west­ern edge of Rus­sia and fea­tured hun­dreds of Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties, num­ber­ing some 11 mil­lion peo­ple. With­in this ter­ri­to­ry, rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies arose from the Jew­ish mis­ery of East­ern and Cen­tral Europe; they were raised in the fear of God and respect for reli­gious tra­di­tion, but were then caught up in the great cur­rent of rev­o­lu­tion­ary utopi­an think­ing. Social­ists, Com­mu­nists, Bundists, Zion­ists, Trot­sky­ists, man­u­al work­ers and intel­lec­tu­als, they embod­ied the mul­ti­far­i­ous activ­i­ty and rad­i­cal­ism of a Jew­ish work­ing class that glimpsed the Mes­si­ah in the folds of the red flag Today, the world from which they came has dis­ap­peared, dis­man­tled and destroyed by the Nazi geno­cide. After this irre­me­di­a­ble break, there remain only sur­vivors, and the work of mem­o­ry for red Yid­dish­land. This book traces the strug­gles of these mil­i­tants, their sin­gu­lar tra­jec­to­ries, their oscil­la­tion between great hope and doubt, their lost illu­sions — a red and Jew­ish gaze on the his­to­ry of the twen­ti­eth century.

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