Pioneers and Partisans

Pioneers and Partisans : An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia

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Thousands of young Jews were orphaned by the Nazi genocide in the German-occupied Soviet Union and struggled for survival on their own. This book weaves together oral histories, video testimonies, and memoirs produced in the former Soviet Union to show how the first generation of Soviet Jews, born after the foundation of the USSR, experienced the Nazi genocide and how they remember it in a context of social change following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The 1930s, a period when the notion interethnic solidarity and social equality were promoted and a partly lived reality, were formative for a cohort of young Jews. Soviet policies of the time established a powerful framework for the ways in which survivors of the genocide understood, survived, and represent their experience of violence and displacement. The book demonstrates that the young Soviet Jews' struggle for survival, and its memory, was shaped by interethnic relationships within the occupied society, German annihilation policy, and Soviet efforts to construct a patriotic unity of the Soviet population. Age and gender were crucial factors for experiencing, surviving, and remembering the Nazi genocide in Soviet territories, an element that Anika Walke emphasizes by investigating the individual and collective efforts to save peoples' lives, in hiding places and partisan formations, and how these efforts were subsequently erased in the construction of the Soviet war portrayal. Pioneers and Partisans demonstrates how the Holocaust unfolded in the German-occupied Soviet territories and how Soviet citizens responded to it. The book does this work through oral histories of atrocities and survival during the German occupation in Minsk and a number of small towns in Eastern Belorussia such as Shchedrin, Slavnoe, Zhlobin, and Shklov. Following particular individuals' stories, framed within the broader historical and cultural context, this book tells of repeated transformations of identity, from Soviet citizen in the prewar years, to a target of genocidal violence during the war, to barely accepted national minority in the postwar Soviet more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 716.68g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199335532
  • 9780199335534
  • 1,713,403

Review quote

Anika Walke's book is an important contribution to the study of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and the history of Belarusian Jewry. * Andrej Kotljarchuk, H-Net * The biggest strength of Anila Walke's work is her detailed analysis of the interaction between experience and memory in a context that, in terms of the politics of memory, is highly charged. She manages to embed the experience of the Holocaust in the overall life story of her interviewees and places it in a distinct geographical space. At the same time, she manages to give a voice to precisely those victims, whose traumatic experiences and losses had been marginalized in their home country for decades. * Kerstin Baur, Sehepunkte * The book can be recommended for oral historians and anthropologists who wish to strengthen their methodology, since it gives a fascinating example of how interviews may be used. Pioneers and Partisans will also be of interest to a broader audience, as it is a highly professional account with a significant emotional component. * Volha Bartash, Oral History Review * Walke's study is a valuable contribution to the social history of the Holocaust. * Leonid Rein, American Historical Review *show more

About Anika Walke

Anika Walke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Washington University in St. more

Table of contents

Preface ; Note on transliteration ; Maps ; Introduction ; Chapter 1: On Methodology: Oral History and the Nazi Genocide ; Chapter 2: Between Tradition and Transformation: Soviet Jews in the 1930s ; Chapter 3: The End of Childhood: Young Soviet Jews in the Minsk Ghetto ; Chapter 4: Suffering and Survival: The Destruction of Jewish Communities in Eastern Belorussia ; Chapter 5: Fighting for Life and Victory: Refugees from the Ghettos and the Soviet Partisan Movement ; Chapter 6: Of Refuge and Resistance: Labor for Survival in the "Zorin Family Unit" ; Conclusion: Soviet Internationalism, Judaism, and the Nazi Genocide in Oral Histories ; Sourcesshow more

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