Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets

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Product Details
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 0.9 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author
A native of Italy, Elissa Bemporad grew up in Modena. She studied Russian language and History at the University of Bologna and earned her doctoral degree from Stanford University. Bemproad lived in Minsk, Belarus, for a year, where she conducted archival research for her first book, Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk. She is also the author of Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators.

"The horrific pogroms in 1918-21 that were perpetrated by several armed forces in the multilateral wars in what became Poland and Soviet Ukraine have been overshadowed by the Holocaust that followed just two decades later. This book describes those pogroms in vivid detail, links them to the hoary myth of Jews using Christians' blood for religious rituals, and contends that the myth persisted into the Soviet period, even as late as the 1960s. Bemporad gives us valuable analytical insights into the nature of antisemitism in the USSR. This is a work of highly original and persuasive research on the persistence of blood libels and pogroms and on the sometimes surprising Jewish reactions to it." -- Zvi Gitelman

"In Legacy of Blood, Elissa Bemporad, a leading voice in Soviet Jewish studies, recreates a lost chapter in the history of the Soviet Union's Jewish population. This pioneering study grounds the history of Soviet-Jewish relationsin the horrendous pogroms of the Russian civil war period, when some 150,000 innocent people were slaughtered. As a consequence of this violence, Jewish citizens looked to the Soviet state for protection-and the state mostly did protect Jews until the eve of World War II. Popular antisemitism, in the meantime, never entirely disappeared as medieval accusations and rumors of "blood libels" continued to erupt. This fine study is an essential first chapter in the understanding the Holocaust within the context of Russian and Soviet history." -- Lynne Viola

"Elissa Bemporad combines a harrowing exploration of the legacy of Russian Civil War-era pogroms for both Soviet Jews and Soviet authorities with a startling reconstruction of the ways that ritual murder accusations persisted into the Soviet era. The result is a rich and disturbing reconsideration of the history of Soviet antisemitism. Legacy of Blood is a brilliant achievement." -- Paul Hanebrink

"A deeply researched, original exploration of the resilience of the darkest anti-Jewish beliefs. Elissa Bemporad raises vexing questions about the underbelly of the Soviet Jewish experience even in its best years before the Second World War." -- Steven J. Zipperstein