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Leningrad refuseniks' community in the 1980s with Michael Beizer

May 31, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Building 360, Conference Room

Free and open to the public

This paper focuses on the unofficial (partly illegal) Jewish communal, religious and cultural life, as it developed in Leningrad in the 1980s, when Jewish emigration was practically stopped, and a significant and stable stratum of "refuseniks" (those who were refused exit visas) formed a nutrient medium for this life. Apart from the mutual struggle for the right of a free emigration and repatriation to Israel, their activities included aid to prisoners and needy, learning Hebrew, celebrating Jewish holidays, publishing and disseminating of Samizdat, staging of amateur home theater performances and concerts, running underground libraries of Jewish books, conducting seminars for studying Jewish history and culture, and more.  This Leningrad Jewish life was very intensive, second only to the Moscow refuseniks' life, it influenced wider circles of the city's Jewish population. This was an attempt to fill peoples' lost years of active periods of their lives with a sense, compensate their outcast social stand by cooperation and razing their national and religious self-consciousness, and self-respect.   

Event Sponsor: 
Taube Center for Jewish Studies