A World To Win: Soviet Yiddishkayt, Transnational Solidarity and Holocaust Memory in the Age of Decolonization
When and Where
Reviewing the first issue of the only Soviet Yiddish journal Sovetish Heymland (Soviet Homeland) for Commentary Magazine in 1962, Yiddish littérateur and Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902–1991) provocatively concluded: “if Jewishness is neither religion, nor Zionism, nor a sense of being a part of world Jewry, then what is it?” (296)
This lecture is an attempt at an answer to this question by exploring the interconnected ideas of anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and antifascism by way of Soviet Yiddish culture – one of the most exciting, but understudied revolutions of modern Jewishness – and its practice of Holocaust memory. It will look specifically at its tradition of internationalist solidarity with oppressed and colonized peoples everywhere as the very core of its understanding of Jewishness. With the help of this tradition, this lecture posits, an alternative Holocaust memory culture can arise today.