Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism by Alain Brossat and Sylvia Klingberg
They were on the barricades from the avenues of Petrograd to the alleys of the Warsaw ghetto, from the anti-Franco struggle to the anti-Nazi resistance. Before the Holocaust, Yiddishland was a vast expanse of Eastern Europe running from the Baltic Sea to the western edge of Russia and featured hundreds of Jewish communities, numbering some 11 million people. Within this territory, revolutionaries arose from the Jewish misery of Eastern and Central Europe; they were raised in the fear of God and respect for religious tradition, but were then caught up in the great current of revolutionary utopian thinking. Socialists, Communists, Bundists, Zionists, Trotskyists, manual workers and intellectuals, they embodied the multifarious activity and radicalism of a Jewish working class that glimpsed the Messiah in the folds of the red flag Today, the world from which they came has disappeared, dismantled and destroyed by the Nazi genocide. After this irremediable break, there remain only survivors, and the work of memory for red Yiddishland. This book traces the struggles of these militants, their singular trajectories, their oscillation between great hope and doubt, their lost illusions—a red and Jewish gaze on the history of the twentieth century.