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The missing links of holocaust cinema: evacuation in Soviet films.

One of the unique features of the Holocaust on Soviet soil was the evacuation of Jews from Nazi-occupied territories to the Soviet rear. (1) Its effects are hard to over-estimate. As historian Mordechai Altshuler points out, escape and evacuation "marked the watershed between a chance to live and almost certain death." (2) Even if the Soviet evacuation policy did not favor Jews, close to a million-and-a-half Jews were saved by fleeing eastward to Central Asia and other hinterlands. (3) Some Jews were among the staff of important industries, cultural institutions, and elites, whom the Soviets evacuated in a relatively organized manner, while less privileged Jews fled on their own, covering hundreds of miles by foot or makeshift transport. Soviet Jewish refugees were joined by Polish Jews who escaped from Nazi-occupied territories. (4)

All evacuees faced great challenges, but those unaffiliated with any Soviet institution (like so many Jewish refugees) struggled the most. They had to secure housing in a city overrun with new arrivals, procure food, and find a means of existence when most of their professional and personal networks were disrupted. Survival was far from guaranteed: hunger, homelessness, and disease were rampant, and death was common. For Jewish refugees, growing antisemitism made the situation even worse. In short, Central Asia was no promised land.

The presence of Jewish refugees was felt in every major city that became an evacuation hub. Ghafur Ghulom, an Uzbek poet who witnessed an arrival of dejected Jewish refugees at Tashkent train station, was so moved that he penned a deeply compassionate poem, I Am a Jew (1941), placing Nazi atrocities in the long line of historical persecutions Jews faced. Not everyone was as sympathetic.

In addition to the objective difficulties, evacuees also had to cope with the stigma of evacuation, which was perceived as something shameful in wartime Soviet Union, as a cowardly act of running away and betrayal of one's civic duty. Evacuees were perceived as "useless" people who contributed neither to the society nor to the war effort. (5) The stigma attached to the evacuation was worst for men, but women also felt it. The only category of evacuees excused from stigma and shame were children. They were seen as a legitimately "weak" group in need of protection and sustenance. Indeed, children were overrepresented among the refugees and evacuees, many of them lost or orphaned.

For Jewish evacuees, increasing antisemitism exacerbated the stigma of evacuation. There were even cases of antisemitic attacks on fleeing Jews. Underpinning this behavior was an unfortunate assumption that "all Jews are cowards." (6) As historian Rebecca Manley puts it, "The popular post-war joke that Jews had served on the 'Tashkent front' merely underscores the degree to which the association between Jews and flight fostered a new wave of popular antisemitism that became a staple of the postwar period." (7) Indeed, when Jewish evacuees returned to their destroyed hometowns from evacuation, they encountered antisemitism refueled during the war by Nazi propaganda and Soviet policies.

Clearly, the stories of Jewish escape, survival, and return are significant chapters in the history of the Holocaust on Soviet territory. However, in my research on Soviet films representing the Holocaust I noticed that Jewish evacuees almost never appear on screen. (8) Even in the context of the overall limited representation of the Soviet-Jewish war experience in Soviet movies, this fact stands out. This chapter aims to understand the absence of Jewish evacuees from Soviet films.


Let us first attempt to understand a general positioning of evacuation in Soviet films. When we consider Soviet war films, it becomes quickly apparent that most of them deal with action on the front, and fewer with life in the rear. Of the latter movies, even fewer are concerned with evacuation. The meager representation of evacuation on Soviet screens is mainly relegated to films made after the war, in the post-Stalin era. During the war, only one film representing evacuation was made, Simple People (Prostye Liudi, Lenfilm, 1945) by the great Soviet directors, Grigorii Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg. It was a story of an airplane factory evacuating to Soviet Central Asia. The entire staff, together with new local workers, are united in a heroic effort to restart production as soon as possible. They are safe in the hinterlands, but they are fighting as if they are on the front. Despite the fact that both directors were ethnic Jews, there are no explicitly Jewish characters on screen. Moreover, despite the Orientalist setting, the film abounds with Christian references. To the degree to which it is possible to read Jewishness into this film, one evacuee (played by a famous actress, Tatiana Peltzer, ethnically Jewish) is an upbeat and sympathetic woman from Odessa. Odessa is famed as a Jewish city, and so any Odessan in Soviet film might be read as having at least some ephemeral or residual Jewish characteristics. (9) Unfortunately, Stalin's ideological watchdogs found the film's depiction of the war effort wanting and banned it as "erroneous." (10) Leonid Trauberg soon fell victim to Stalin's antisemitic campaign against "cosmopolitans." Simple People was released only in the post-Stalin era, in 1956, during Khrushchev's Thaw, when other films on the subject were starting to be made.

The Thaw in the late 1950s and early 1960s was an era of liberalization, when war films became less heroic and began to focus more on individual experiences. (11) But even in Thaw movies, there is something compromised about evacuation, and evacuees themselves are hardly heroes: they are portrayed either as morally suspect or hopelessly naive. A case in point is the Soviet cult film, The Cranes are Flying (Letiat Zhuravli, 1957, dir. Mikhail Kalatozov). At the center of the plot is a beautiful young woman, Veronika (Tatiana Samoilova). After Veronika's boyfriend, Boris, volunteers for the front and her parents are killed in an air raid, she evacuates with Boris's family. She meets his cousin Mark, who pursues and rapes her. Demoralized by her losses, Veronika marries him. She is an enigmatic character, most unusual for a Soviet on-screen heroine; she is passive, despondent, and unable to make rational choices, while Mark is truly evil: he evades army service and lies his way into evacuation. He is equally immoral in his personal life, cheating on Veronika even after he forces himself on her. It takes Veronika considerable effort to finally leave Mark and put the evacuation behind her. At the end, she returns to Moscow, herself again, but her relationship with Mark, and the evacuation site where it took place, remain equally tainted with shame.

There are no Jewish characters in The Cranes are Flying. Still, Mark exemplifies all the negative stereotypes that haunted Jews during wartime. His foreign name (Mark), his profession (pianist), and even his crafty resourcefulness, are all associated with Soviet Jewish stereotypes. In short, Mark is "fighting on a Tashkent front," using an unfortunate Soviet idiom. Mark is not Jewish, but the mere fact of his evacuation (as opposed to front fighting) immediately endows him with stereotypically negative Jewish characteristics. He is an emasculated, selfish coward.

The Cranes are Flying was embraced by the fitmmaking community and audiences alike. (12) But conservative critics and the establishment objected to the film on ideological grounds. Most controversial was the character of Veronika, whom they perceived as "morally weak." So unacceptable was she for the establishment, that Khrushchev allegedly called her "a whore." (13)

Different types of evacuees appeared in another significant Soviet film, Twenty Days without War (Dvadtsat' Dnei bez Voiny, 1977, dir. Aleksei German). Here, they are hopelessly naive. The film's main character, a war correspondent serving at the front, Lopatin (Yurii Nikulin), must travel to Tashkent, where a film based on his war essays is being shot. All the people whom he encounters there are either women and children or theater actors, poets, and other "creative intelligentsia" (using Soviet lingo), who are laughable in their attempt to convey the war experience on film without ever having encountered it personally. Here they are not morally suspect, but rather weak and inadequate next to the more masculine figures of fighters. Evacuees keep coming to consult Lopatin on various matters, as if the mere fact of his front experience renders him an adult next to all these child-like dupes. And yet, even Lopatin, once he finds himself in the rear, appears weak and inadequate. He regains his confidence and energy only when he returns to the front. Like Cranes, Twenty Days without War became one of the most important Soviet films of its era. It also encountered objections by the establishment. Film industry functionaries (read: censors) did not like the fact that life on screen appeared so bleak and un-heroic. After attempts to stall the film's release, it was finally authorized for a limited release only. (14)

All three of the abovementioned evacuation films encountered resistance from Soviet officials. As seen in this analysis, evacuation had a bad reputation in Soviet movies. In evacuation there were no heroes, no feats of courage, and no foundations for greatness. If this is how non-Jews are portrayed in the evacuation, how were Jews represented?


Soviet commemorative practices were highly selective: many categories of people were excluded from the memory of the so-called "Great Patriotic War," first and foremost, Jews. (15) There was no institution of Holocaust memory within Soviet borders. The word "Holocaust" itself was not used--the particular Jewish loss had no name. (16) There was no clearly formulated, consistent policy regarding the Holocaust, but the tendency was to silence any discussion of the matter. Although this vague policy and its enforcement fluctuated over time, throughout most of the Soviet era the silencing mechanism remained the same: the Holocaust was not explicitly denied, instead it was not treated as a unique, separate phenomenon. (17) Mostly, the Holocaust was universalized by subsuming it into the general Soviet tragedy, with Jews euphemistically labeled "peaceful Soviet citizens." (18)

In accordance with this policy, few Soviet films represented the Holocaust or any Soviet-Jewish experiences during the war. Still, throughout the Soviet era over 20 films were made featuring the historical events of the Holocaust (such as Nazi antisemitism, mass executions, and death camps) or Jewish service in the Red Army and partisan units. (19) In contrast, only three Soviet-era films deal with Jewish evacuees. Who are these Jewish evacuees then, and how are they represented?

As I showed, evacuation in Soviet films in general was represented through two tropes: shame and naivete. Films about Jews in evacuation are careful to avoid the first trope in order not to appear antisemitic. Instead, Jews in these films are mostly depicted as children or child-like in some way. The first such film was You Are Not an Orphan (Ty ne Sirota, 1962, dir. Shukhrat Abbasov, Uzbekfilm). Once a major film, even today it is considered one of the best of Uzbek cinema. (20) Behind Abbasov's inspiration for the film is the real-life story of an Uzbek couple who adopted 14 war orphans, a feat of courage memorialized in an eponymous poem by the aforementioned Ghafur Ghulom. The filmmaker also drew on memories of his own hungry wartime childhood spent in an Uzbek village among refugees from all over the Soviet Union. (21) Abbasov recalls that there were many Jews among them.

Indeed, there is a Jewish boy, Abram (Fima Kaminer), among the adopted children in the film too. Of necessity, an internationalist message is conveyed throughout the narrative, and Abram is only one of the adopted kids of various Soviet ethnicities, which including even a German boy. But it is this Jewish boy who is particularly haunted by traumatic memories. In the most dramatic scene of the film, children play war, with young Abram dressed as a Nazi, in a uniform and with a Hitler-style mustache. He holds another child, cast as a Soviet partisan, at a gunpoint, and screams, "Speak, you dirty partisan!" As he mouths the words, Abram experiences a flashback to his past. He hears the same words said by a Nazi, followed by shooting. Abram faints. Clearly, his game was a reenactment of his trauma: he had witnessed Nazis murder his parents. Importantly, they were killed as partisans, not as Jews. Yet, the scene might be read otherwise: echoing the words of the Nazi executioner, Abram says in Russian, "Govori, partisanskaia morda." Literal translation: "Speak, you partisan mug." In Russian, these words clearly reference a notorious antisemitic slur, "zhidovskaia morda," or "yid mug." His parents were killed as partisans, but they were also Jews.

There are other hints in the film of the unique place of Jews. Thus, one of the children says to his adoptive Uzbek father, "If Germans come here, they'll execute you because you adopted Abram. The fascists hate the Jews." In another scene, the camera pans over emaciated, dirty children arriving on trains bearing the names of their cities of origin--Kiev and Kishinev, sites of mass executions of Jews on Soviet soil.

Unlike other films dealing with the Jewish experience and the Holocaust, You Are not an Orphan was embraced by the film apparatchiks. The fact that it was an Uzbek film also helped, as studios on the Soviet periphery enjoyed a greater degree of freedom than in the center. The film's production went smoothly, with no extensive revisions, no turned-down subplots, nor any of the other problems I have seen in the archival files of other Holocaust-themed films. On the contrary, Abbasov recalls that when Ekaterina Furtseva, then Minister of Culture, watched the film as part of its authorization process, she was moved to tears. She came out of the screening room sobbing, hugged Abbasov, and said: "You've made us feel their suffering! I will promote your film everywhere!" And she was true to her word--Abbasov's film was screened in 33 countries. (22) You Are Not an Orphan was unconditionally praised by Soviet critics, and even nominated for the Lenin Prize, the highest honor at the time. (23) Why was this film not considered problematic? Even though it featured the Jewish child and his tragic story, Abram was only one of the many war orphans, each one with his or her own tragedy. In that way, the film was not about the uniqueness of the Jewish Holocaust, but about the internationalism of the Soviet regime, and about celebrating "the big family of Soviet people." Abram's story was possible because the film's main subject was not a little Jewish boy, but a heroic and selfless Uzbek family. This was fully in agreement with the party line circa 1962.

The film had perfect timing for representing a Jewish story. You Are not an Orphan was produced at the peak of the liberal era, soon after 1961, when Evgenii Evtushenko shattered Soviet complacency about the Holocaust with his famous poem Babi War. (24) Yet, the film came out before 1963, when Khrushchev berated Evtushenko for singling out the Jews, and announced that in the Soviet Union there is no "Jewish question." (25) Khrushchev's dictum effectively put an end to any kind of public discussion of the Holocaust.

Indeed, the subject of Jews in evacuation reappeared on Soviet screens only many years later, in 1980, in a much weaker and completely forgotten film, Leningraders, My Children (Leningradtsy--Deti Moi, dir. Damir Salimov). Like You Are not an Orphan, this film was also produced at Uzbekfilm, and was also inspired by an eponymous poem, written by Dzhambul Dzhabaev, a Kazakh poet. The plot is also similar: it is set in wartime Uzbekistan, in an orphanage for children who survived the siege of Leningrad and are traumatized by war and hunger, haunted by persistent flashbacks. One of the staff members is Nauru Markovich, a tailor turned jack-of-all-trades at the orphanage. Unlike the earlier film, the word "Jew" is never uttered on screen although Naum's name, dialogue, body language, and casting are all very Jewish. Played by Lev Lemke, one of the "court Jews" of Soviet cinema, Naum keeps lamenting, "What a Singer [sewing machine] have I left at home!" He continuously dispenses bits of pseudo-folksy shtetl wisdom, such as, "My father used to say, if you want to eat bread, you need to work, but if you want to eat bread with butter, then you need to work with your brain." But there are also hints at greater loss in his dialogue, such as when he says, "When I recall my children and my Vera, then I start losing my mind." This last lament is ambiguous: "Vera" in Russian is both a woman's name and a word for faith. Naum laments his wife, but the choice of name is clearly not arbitrary, allowing the filmmakers to invoke faith at least indirectly, which is unusual for a 1980 Soviet movie.

We do not know much about Naum, beyond that he is no "fighter on the Tashkent front." However his character is a response to this relentless stigma. In a key moment, when a criminal attacks the orphanage, Naum rises to the occasion and attacks the crook. Thus, a little Jewish tailor staying behind the front lines in the safe Uzbek rear turned out to be a hero.

Besides Naum, there is also a boy named Grisha, a dead ringer for Abram in the earlier film: he is a dark-haired, nervous boy. His name, (Grisha--a Russian substitute for Hirsch) may signal Jewishness to Soviet audiences, (26) although his story is not developed as distinct from other kids.

The third and last--and by far the best--Soviet film featuring Jewish evacuation is a remarkable cinematic autobiography by the filmmaker Mikhail Kalik, a figurehead of the Soviet poetic cinema of the 1960s, along with directors such as Andrey Tarkovsky and Sergey Paradjanov. Following an onset of antisemitism, leading to the banning or shelving of several of his works, Kalik emigrated to Israel in 1971. In 1990, in the Soviet Union, he made And the Wind Returneth (I Vozvrashchaetsia Veter) as a guest director from Israel.

And the Wind Returneth is radically different from the earlier two movies. Not only is it made by a Jewish director concerned both with Jewish themes and antisemitism, but it is also a Perestroika-era film, made after censorship ceased to exist, and previously unspoken topics such as Stalin's repressions and camps (both featured in this film) were no longer taboo. The war and evacuation is not the main focus in And the Wind Returneth. They are covered only in one chapter of Kalik's life story, which encompasses the entire Soviet Jewish experience, from enchantment with Communist ideology to Stalin's repressions, through WWII, all the way to the eventual rise of Jewish consciousness and emigration to Israel.

However, there is still overlap with You are Not an Orphan and Leningraders, My Children: Kalik's autobiographical protagonist is also a young boy through whose eyes we see life during evacuation. For him, the evacuation coincides with his own coming-of-age (he loses his virginity to a voluptuous landlady), but the film also captures the culture and politics of the time.

Aside from the autobiographical main character, all the adults (Jewish or not) appearing in the evacuation segment are actors and directors, musicians and dancers. Kalik's parents are themselves actors performing with a motley crew at hospitals and makeshift stages. Although they are not children, they are in some ways like children, since they play for a living. This representation echoes Twenty Days without War, a film where evacuees are creative intelligentsia.

Unlike the earlier two films, Kalik's film makes a point of showing Soviet antisemitism. In one scene, Kalik's parents, who are friends with famous Moscow evacuees, stop by the sets where legendary director Sergei Eisenstein is filming Ivan the Terrible, his film that would later be banned. Here, young Kalik overhears an antisemitic actress say on the set, "What a shame, Sarah-Fima [referring to Serafima Birman] plays a Russian boyarynia! ... Thank God that at least Tsar Ivan is not played by Mikhoels." This brief scene simultaneously depicts the nascent wartime antisemitism and foreshadows the future tragic events of Soviet Jewish history. Already during the war it was becoming increasingly difficult to cast Jewish actors in key roles. In a few short years, Solomon Mikhoels was murdered on Stalin's orders. Mikhoels, a legendary Yiddish actor and an important Jewish leader, had rallied international Jewry to support the Soviet war effort as head of a Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. (27) After Mikhoels's murder, the morbid wave of arrests and executions of Jewish intellectuals and public figures followed suit.

In another scene, Kalik also confronts the stereotype of Jews as cowards and "Tashkent front warriors" by including a reference to the Soviet Jewish war effort. In an open-air black market, Kalik's mother buys potatoes from a mutilated soldier. When he recognizes her as a Jew, he says, "Don't fret, even among your people, there are some good ones." He explains that his best friend, a Jew, was killed in the same battle in which he was injured. The soldier's remark reveals his deep-seated antisemitism, but at the same time indicates that Jews were fighting on the front.

As I have showed the two Uzbek films directed in the Soviet era by non-Jewish filmmakers make indirect references to Jewish loss. Amazingly, in Kalik's film, the Holocaust is not even mentioned. This is particularly surprising, given that And the Wind Returneth is the most Jewish of the three films and was made by a director who has lived in Israel for nearly 20 years (and was exposed to the Holocaust discourse there). Kalik's explanation is that in this film he was trying to capture only his and his family's experiences during the war. To the best of his recollection, in 1942, during the evacuation in Kazakhstan, he still had not learned about the Holocaust. Such knowledge came later. The Kalik's wartime experience was that of a resurgence of Soviet antisemitism, and as such it substitutes for Nazi antisemitism in his film. (28)

This point is well illustrated by a scene in the film, set in 1948 Moscow, when young Kalik goes to the funeral of Solomon Mikhoels, whose murder was presented to the public as an accident. The funeral brought together thousands of people, and eyewitnesses recall that for the duration of the official funeral an old Jewish man played violin on a rooftop of a nearby building. Kalik's film depicts this historic moment. Notably, in this scene, an old violinist plays Es Brent ["It's burning"] by Mordechai Gebirtig, a famous Yiddish songwriter. Es Brent was written before the war, but it was sung in the ghettos, and came to be associated with the Holocaust. This song, which in the West represents the Holocaust victims, came to represent Stalin's victim in Kalik's film. This fact speaks volumes about the filmmaker's vision, emphasizing Stalin's crimes over Hitler's. Paradoxically, in a Perestroika-era film by a Jewish director, the Holocaust is not present.

In all three films featuring Jewish evacuees, the protagonists are children or people associated with children. This portrayal is double-edged: if the main characters are children, their age is an excuse for why they are evacuated instead of fighting on the front, but such representation also infantilizes the evacuees. The way Jews in evacuation are portrayed is both similar to, and different from, non-Jewish evacuees: both are presented as children or creative intelligentsia; Jewish evacuees, in contrast, are not portrayed as morally corrupt.

In conclusion, the evacuation, a significant chapter in the history of Soviet Jewry, is almost never depicted on screen. The important context for understanding this is the paucity of films representing evacuation in the general corpus of Soviet war films. Evacuation, unlike fighting on the front, was not a heroic subject, and did not fit the Soviet war narrative. Representing Jewish evacuation was even more problematic: it would have emphasized a special position of Jews as the targets of Nazi violence, and thus had a potential to tap into the antisemitic stereotype of Jews as draft-dodgers, or "Tashkent partisans." This made evacuation a touchy subject. Films dealing with evacuation handled it in two ways. First, when evacuation is reflected on Soviet screens, Jewish characters are child-like--a weak group legitimately in need of protection and rescue. Second, like other Jewish characters on Soviet screens, Jewish evacuees are portrayed as members of a multi-ethnic community, thus making them just one of many targets of Nazi violence, no different from all the others.

If evacuation received very minimal representation, some chapters in Soviet-Jewish history are not reflected on screen at all. Escape from the occupied territories, not in an organized Soviet effort, but simply as refugees, is not represented in a single film. Similarly absent from Soviet films is the experience of returning home after the evacuation or escape. The reason for such a conspicuous lack is clear: making a film about Jewish refugees or their homecoming after the war would have meant singling out a particular Jewish fate as well as having to deal with the issue of Soviet antisemitism. This was unthinkable. It is significant that this trend continues in post-Soviet film. In the entire Perestroika and post-Soviet era, when no subject allegedly is off-limits, only one film, Exile (Izgoi, 1991, dir. Vladimir Savel'ev) tells a story of Polish-Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union, and only one film deals with the postwar Jewish experience, From Hell to Hell (Iz Ada v Ad, 1996, dir. Dmitrii Astrakhan). However, both these films are co-productions with Germany, supported by a German-Jewish producer, Artur Brauner, which makes them exceptions rather than the rule in post-Soviet cinema. Even in the "new Russia," some subjects seem to have remained taboo.

Caption: You Are Not an Orphan: Abram dressed as a Nazi.

Caption: And the Wind Returneth: the protagonist's parents-actors.


Altshuler, Mordechai. "Escape and Evacuation of Soviet Jews at the Time of the Nazi Invasion: Policies and Realities." In The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on the Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945 edited by Lucian Dobroszycki and Jeffrey S. Gurock, 77-105. Armon, NY; London, UK: M.E. Sharpe, 1993.

Altshuler, Mordechai. "The Unique Features of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union." In Jews and Jewish life in Russia and the Soviet Union edited by Y. Ro'i, 171-188. Portland: Frank Cass, 1995.

Arad, Yitzhak. "Stalin and the Soviet Leadership: Responses to the Holocaust," in Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, 1: History edited by John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, 355-370. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave, 2001.

Arad, Yitzhak. The Holocaust in the Soviet Union. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P; Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2009.

Berkhoff, Karel C. '"Total Annihilation of the Jewish Population': The Holocaust in the Soviet Media, 1941-45," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 10, 1 (2009): 477-504.

Feferman, Kiril. Soviet Jewish Stepchild: The Holocaust in the Soviet Mindset, 1941-1964. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller, 2009.

Gershenson, Olga and David Shneer. "Soviet Jewishness and Cultural Studies." Journal of Jewish Identities, 4, 1 (2011): 129-147.

Gershenson, Olga. The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2013.

Gitelman, Zvi. "Politics and the Historiography of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union." In Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR edited by Zvi Gitelman, 14-43. Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997.

Gitelman, Zvi. "Soviet Reactions to the Holocaust, 1945-1991." In The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on the Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945 edited by Lucian Dobroszycki and Jeffrey S. Gurock, 3-29. Armon, NY; London, UK: M.E. Sharpe, 1993.

Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge UP, 1992.

Litvak, Yosef. "Jewish Refugees from Poland in the USSR, 1939-1946." In Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR edited by Zvi Gitelman, 123-151. Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997.

Manley, Rebecca. To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2009.

Merridale, Catherine. "War, Death, and Remembrance in Soviet Russia." In War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century edited by Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan, 61-83. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000.

Pinkus, Benjamin. The Soviet Government and the Jews 1948-1967: A Documented Study. New York: Cambridge UP, 1984.

Redlich, Shimon. War, Holocaust and Stalinism: A Documented Study of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the USSR. Luxembourg: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995.

Tanny, Jarrod. City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2011.

Woll, Josephine. The Cranes Are Flying. Lon-don, New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003. Youngblood, Denise. Russian War Films: On the Cinema Front, 1914-2005. Lawrence: Kansas UP, 2007.


And the Wind Returneth (dir. Mikhail Kalik, USSR, 1990)

Exile (dir. Vladimir Savel'ev, Ukraine, Germany, 1991)

From Hell to Hell (dir. Dmitrii Astrakhan, Russia, Germany, 1996)

Leningraders, My Children (dir. Damir Salimov, USSR, 1980)

Simple People (dirs. Grigorii Kozintzev and Leonid Trauberg, USSR, 1945)

The Cranes are Flying (dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, USSR, 1957)

Twenty Days without War (dir. Aleksei German, USSR, 1977)

You Are Not an Orphan (dir. Shukhrat Abbasov, USSR, 1962)


(1) Mordechai Altshuler, "The Unique Features of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union," in Jews and Jezoish life in Russia and the Soviet Union, ed. Yitzhak Ro'i (Portland: Frank Cass, 1995), 171-188.

(2) Mordechai Altshuler, "Escape and Evacuation of Soviet Jews at the Time of the Nazi Invasion: Policies and Realities," in Tire Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on tire Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945, ed. Lucian Dobroszycki and Jeffrey S. Gurock (Armon, NY; London, UK: M.E. Sharpe, 1993), 77.

(3) Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P; Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2009).

(4) Yosef Litvak, "Jewish Refugees from Poland in the USSR, 1939-1946," in Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR, ed. Zvi Gitelman (Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997), 123-151.

(5) Rebecca Manley. To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in tire Soviet Union at War (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2009), 154.

(6) Ibid., 112.

(7) Ibid., 115.

(8) Olga Gershenson, The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe. (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2013), 225.

(9) The same phenomenon can be seen in the popular Soviet film Two Fighters (Dva Boitsa, 1943), where a brave Odessan character played by a famous Jewish singer and actor Mark Bernes, was read at least by some Soviet Jews as one of their own. On the Odessa ethos, see Jarrod Tanny, City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2011), 48-82.

(10) Peter Kenez, Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953 (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge UP, 1992), 194-196.

(11) See Denise Youngblood, Russian War Films: On tire Cinema Front, 1914-2005 (Lawrence: Kansas UP, 2007), 107-142.

(12) For account of the film's reception and impact, see Josephine Woll, Tire Cranes Are Flying (London, New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003), 65-80.

(13) Cited by Tatiana Samoilova in a media interview: Nina Kovalenko, "Aktrisa Kotoraia Povergla Soft Loren,", May 4, 2008, accessed June 6, 2012, http://www.

(14) "Pravdivyi Glavnyi Geroi," Izvestiia, July 18, 2003.

(15) Catherine Merridale, "War, Death, and Remembrance in Soviet Russia," in War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, ed. Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000), 61-83. In English, the Soviet term, Velikaia Otechestvennaia Voina, is usually rendered as The Great Patriotic War.

(16) The term Holocaust came into use in Russian only in the 1990s. The Yiddish term khurbm was used only in the Yiddish press.

(17) Zvi Gitelman, "Soviet Reactions to the Holocaust, 1945-1991," in Dobroszycki and Gurock, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union, 7. Zvi Gitelman, "Politics and the Historiography of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union," in Gitelman, ed., Bitter Legacy, 14-43.

(18) Karel C. Berkhoff, '"Total Annihilation of the Jewish Population': The Holocaust in the Soviet Media, 1941-45," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 10, 1 (2009): 477-504. Kiril Feferman, Soviet Jewish Stepchild: The Holocaust in tire Soviet Mindset, 1941-1964 (Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller, 2009). Yitzhak Arad, "Stalin and the Soviet Leadership: Responses to the Holocaust," in Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, 1: History, ed. John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave, 2001), 355-370.

(19) Gershenson, The Phantom Holocaust.

(20) You Are not an Orphan has been included in a compilation of ten films representing the best of Central Asian Cinema (Kino--Tsentral'naia Asiia), published by the Center of Central Asian Cinematography, Almaty, 2006.

(21) Author's interview with Shukhrat Abbasov, February 5, 2012.

(22) Author's interview with Shukhrat Abbasov, February 5, 2012.

(23) A. Somov, "Sem'ia Kuznetsa," Literaturnaya Gazeta, February 11, 1964.

(24) Evgenii Evtushenko, "Babi Yar." Literaturnaya Gazeta, September 19, 1961. For an analysis of the poem's impact, see Feferman, Soviet Jewish Stepchild, 46-50.

(25) Khrushchev made this statement in his speech at the meeting of the Party leadership with Soviet writers and artists, which was published in Pravda on March 10, 1963. Excerpts in English are available in Benjamin Pinkus, The Soviet Government and the Jews 1948-1967: A Documented Study (New York: Cambridge UP, 1984), 74-77.

(26) For naming practices of Soviet Jews, see Olga Gershenson and David Shneer, "Soviet Jewishness and Cultural Studies." Journal of Jewish Identities, 4, 1 (2011): 129-147.

(27) Shimon Redlich, War, Holocaust and Stalinism: A Documented Study of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the USSR (Luxembourg: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995).

(28) Author's interview with Mikhail Kalik, January 7, 2010.


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Author:Gershenson, Olga
Publication:Post Script
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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