This show recalls the tragic events in the USSR of August 12, 1952. Popularly known as "Night of the Murdered Poets", the event itself, as well as associated themes -- such as Yiddish language and culture in the Soviet Union, Soviet Bloc, and in leftist circles -- is being remembered on this special broadcast by two distinguished guests, Gennady Estraikh and Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh.
The so-called Night of the Murdered Yiddish Poets took place on August 12, 1952, when thirteen leading Jewish political, cultural, and intellectual figures of the Soviet Union, among them five highly distinguished Yiddish writers, were executed in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, after having been arrested, imprisoned, and falsely accused of espionage and treason, part of a broad anti-Jewish campaign in the postwar USSR.
Gennady Estraikh is the Rauch Clinical Professor of Yiddish Studies at New York University, where he teaches and writes about Yiddish intellectual history. He is the former managing editor of Sovetish Heymland and writes regularly for the Yiddish Forward (Forverts). He has been the author or editor of numerous scholarly works. His books include Yiddish in the Cold War (Routledge, 2008); Uncovering the Hidden: The Works and Life of Der Nister (Routledge, 2014); and his latest Transatlantic Russian Jewishness: Ideological Voyages of the Yiddish Daily Forverts in the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Academic Studies Press, 2020). He spoke to us from his summer residence in Oxford, England, via Zoom.
Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh is the founder and CEO of YAAANA (yaaana.org), and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan. She is working on her dissertation on Yiddish Theater in Communist Warsaw. Originally from Poland, Jana holds a Master of Arts degree in Polish Philology and Jewish Studies from the University of Wrocław. She spoke to us via Zoom from her home in San Diego.
Sholem Beinfeld, regular contributer to the Yiddish Voice, joins as co-host to lead the interview and provide additional commentary. He is Professor of History (Emeritus) at Washington University (St. Louis) as well as Co-Chief Editor of the Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary. He spoke via Zoom from his home in Cambridge.
Air Date: August 12, 2020
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