From Berdichev to Minsk and Onward to Moscow: Jewish Voices of the Russian Revolution
Pears Institute Public Lecture
Speaker: Professor Elissa Bemporad, City University of New York
Date: Monday 27 November 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.00 pm
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7JL
The Russian Revolution of 1917 stormed through the cities and towns of the former Pale of Settlement, bringing promises, hopes, enthusiasm and empowerment to millions of Jews. But the Revolution also brought fear and violence. It was this violence, unleashed throughout Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and into the Civil War of 1918-1921, that ultimately swayed the Jews to support the Bolshevik cause. The pervasiveness, extraordinary brutality, and unprecedented nature of the anti-Jewish pogroms that followed the Revolution shaped the relationship between Jews and the new Bolshevik power, sparking a Soviet Jewish alliance. By exploring the tumultuous events in Berdichev, Minsk and Moscow, three cities located in different regions of the Soviet territory, this talk will capture Jewish responses to the 1917 Revolution, and reassess the role that violence played in the choices Jews made.