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Stalin, Mikhoels, and the Doctors’ Plot

Solomon Mikhoels, the Soviet Union’s foremost Jewish actor and theater director, was arrested and murdered on Stalin’s orders on January 12-13 in 1948. Mikhoels was the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater and chaired the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, which had traveled widely to rally international Jewish support for the Soviet Union during World […]

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How Stalin Built and Buried Communism

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, by Stephen Kotkin. Penguin Press, 2017, 1154 pages.   AT THE OPENING of Stephen Koptkin’s magisterial Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, the second volume of his biography of the Soviet leader and gravedigger of the revolution, Lenin has been dead for five years and Stalin, […]

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The Palmer Raids

Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Mollie Steimer were among the large number of activist Jews arrested and eventually deported in the wake of the Palmer Raids, launched on this date in 1919 (the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution) by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. Between November and January, […]

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The Rise and Fall of the Russian Revolution

LOOKING BACK A CENTURY LATER by Mitchell Abidor From the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   Discussed in this essay: October by China Miéville, Verso, 2017, 343 pages; The Dilemmas of Lenin by Tariq Ali. Verso, 2017, 371 pages; Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale, Metropolitan Books, 2017, 354 pages.   AT FIRST GLANCE, the notion […]

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More about Marxism: Time to Give Up the Ghost

by Bennett Muraskin   To read Sam Friedman’s recent “Why I’m (Still) a Marxist” in Jewish Currents, click here. To read Lawrence Bush’s “Why I’m Not (Still) a Marxist,” click here. To read about Jewish Currents’ communist history, click here.   IS THERE any precedent in world history for a successful socialist economy? Every place that it was […]

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Leyb Kvitko and the Night of the Murdered Poets

Prominent Soviet Yiddish poet Leyb Kvitko, an editor of the literary magazine Heymland (Homeland) who became the head of the Yiddish Writers Section at the Soviet Writers Union, was born near Odessa on this date in 1890 (some sources say 1893). Kvitko “was welcomed by the [Jewish] urban literary community as a folk talent when he arrived in Kiev wearing […]

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The Tajik Dancer

Malika Kalantarova, a dancer specializing in the dance forms of Tajikistan, was born there on this date in 1950. She began her dance career in 1965 with Lola Dance Ensemble and then with the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Tajik Philharmonic. Kalantarova achieved international fame as a folk and traditional-form dancer throughout the USSR and in Japan, […]

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Ilya Ehrenburg and the Black Book

Soviet journalist, novelist, and poet Ilya Ehrenburg (some sources spell it “Ehrenberg”), who with Vasily Grossman created The Black Book, the first book documenting the Holocaust (before the killing had ended), died on this date in 1967. Ehrenburg was a popular communist writer and war correspondent, and an active member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC), organized […]

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Jews in the Soviet-Polish War

The decisive Battle of Warsaw ended in an enormous defeat for the Soviet Red Army by the Polish armed forces on this date in 1920. Russian Jews had already been caught for a year in the middle of a war among warring Red and White Russian armies as well as Ukrainian and Polish forces, with some 100,000 Jews killed. The anti-Bolshevik White […]

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