Survival on the Margins: Polish Jewish Refugees in the Wartime Soviet Union

Product Details
Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.3 X 1.7 inches | 1.85 pounds

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About the Author
Eliyana R. Adler is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia, winner of the Heldt Prize, and coeditor of Reconstructing the Old Country: American Jewry in the Post-Holocaust Decades.
This intriguing, well-written social history is the most detailed treatment to date in English of the Polish Jews who spent the war years in the USSR, either because they fled the Germans or because they were arrested and deported. One of the book's major achievements is Adler's mastery of an impressive array of personal interviews and testimonies from various archives in Poland, the United States, Israel, and elsewhere.--Samuel D. Kassow, Trinity College
An ambitious and deeply researched book about the relatively unknown Polish Jewish refugees who spent some or all of World War II in Soviet territory. Adler is scrupulously fair in assessing the Soviet Union's role in 'saving' these refugees, accurate about what we know and cannot know about Stalin's intentions, and sensitive to the nuances of Polish antisemitism and anticommunism. This sophisticated, elegantly written work will expand the boundaries of Holocaust studies.--Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Michigan State University
The largest group left after the Holocaust of interwar Europe's biggest Jewish community survived the Nazi era in the eastern reaches of the Soviet Union. This important, extensively researched book documents the experiences of this important segment of Polish Jewry during the Second World War.--David Engel, New York University
Lovingly written and meticulously researched, Survival on the Margins plumbs a history that scholars only sketched before. A landmark study, it brings a singularly significant chapter of the Holocaust into sharp focus. Situating Polish Jewish refugees in the broad sweep of the wartime Soviet Union, Adler deftly negotiates both the large political picture and the immediate social environment, while never losing sight of the individuals whose lives were shaped by their flight east.--Debórah Dwork, Clark University
Adler...has amassed a treasure trove of archival material augmented by an impressive collection of immigrant memoirs to tell this compelling social history.--Sanford R. Silverburg "Association of Jewish Libraries News and Reviews" (5/1/2021 12:00:00 AM)
It is a neglected area of scholarship, but in this thoroughly-researched book, she fills that yawning gap admirably.--Sheldon Kirshner "Times of Israel" (6/13/2021 12:00:00 AM)
[A] groundbreaking new book chronicling the fate of the quarter-million or so Polish Jews who evaded Hitler only to wind up in the hands of Stalin.--Ruth Franklin "New York Review of Books" (10/21/2021 12:00:00 AM)
This is an innovative, intellectually sophisticated, yet readily accessible, humane, and handsomely produced book. It casts Polish-Jewish relations with the Soviet wartime authorities in a more positive light than totalitarianism theorists might have predicted.--William W. Hagen "Holocaust and Genocide Studies"
A unique compendium of knowledge for researchers in the social sciences and humanities, as well as for readers interested in the social history of pain and determination of a group whose memory the author has managed to restore and thus make the history of World War II and the Holocaust more complete.--Urszula Markowska-Manista "Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte" (8/12/2022 12:00:00 AM)
Richly researched and evocatively written...Adler excavates a neglected history of the largest group of Eastern European Jews, perhaps a quarter million, to emerge alive from the catastrophe of the Shoah. At the same time, she deftly traces and analyzes the conditions of its marginalization and the long-standing consequences of that inattention for memory and memorialization as well as historiography.--Atina Grossmann "Association for Jewish Studies Review" (11/1/2022 12:00:00 AM)