Jews in the Russian Army, 1827-1917: Drafted into Modernity
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, July 17, 2014
This is the first study of the military experience of some one to one-and-a-half million Jews who served in the Russian Army between 1827, the onset of personal conscription of Jews in Russia, and 1917, the demise of the tsarist regime. The conscription integrated Jews into the state transforming the repressed Jewish victims of the draft into modern imperial Russian Jews. The book contextualizes the reasons underlying the decision to draft Jews, the communal responses to the draft, the missionary initiatives directed toward Jews in the army, alleged Jewish draft evasion and Jewish military performance, and the strategies Jews used to endure military service. It also explores the growing antisemitism of the upper echelons of the military toward the Jews on the eve of World War I and the rise of Russian-Jewish loyalty and patriotism.
The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, March 30, 2014
The shtetl was home to two-thirds of East Europe's Jews in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, yet it has long been one of the most neglected and misunderstood chapters of the Jewish experience. This book provides the first grassroots social, economic, and cultural history of the shtetl. Challenging popular misconceptions of the shtetl as an isolated, ramshackle Jewish village stricken by poverty and pogroms, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern argues that, in its heyday from the 1790s to the 1840s, the shtetl was a thriving Jewish community as vibrant as any in Europe.
Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence
by Paul Robert Magocsi (Author), Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Author)
There is much that ordinary Ukrainians do not know about Jews and that ordinary Jews do not know about Ukrainians. As a result, those Jews and Ukrainians who may care about their respective ancestral heritages usually view each other through distorted stereotypes, misperceptions, and biases. This book sheds new light on highly controversial moments of Ukrainian-Jewish relations and argues that the historical experience in Ukraine not only divided ethnic Ukrainians and Jews but also brought them together.
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 26: Jews and Ukrainians
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Editor), Antony Polonsky (Editor)
This volume provides a comprehensive and much-needed survey of the millennium-long history of Jews in the Ukrainian lands. The book challenges the stereotyped vision of the relationship between Jews and Ukrainians and offers in-depth studies of key periods and issues. The survey opens with a consideration of early Jewish settlements and the local reactions to these. The focus then moves to the period after 1569, when control of the fertile lands of Ukraine passed to the Polish nobility. Because it was largely Jews in the service of the nobility who administered these lands, they were inevitably caught up in the resentment that Polish rule provoked among the local population, and, above all, among the Cossacks and peasant-serfs. This resentment culminated in the great revolt led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky in the mid-17th century, in consequence of which the Jews were excluded from that part of Ukraine which eventually came under Russian rule when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned. The Jewish response to the establishment of Russian and Austrian rule in the areas of Ukraine that had formerly been in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is a second major theme of the book, and particularly the Jewish reaction to the emergence of Ukrainian nationalism and the subsequent Ukrainian struggle for independence. A third overarching theme is the impact of the sovietization of Ukraine on Jewish-Ukrainian relations, with a chapter devoted to the 1932-33 Famine (Holodomor) in which millions perished. The book also gives special attention to the growing rift between Jews and Ukrainians triggered by the rise of radical nationalism among Ukrainians living outside the Soviet Union and by conflicting views of Germany's genocidal plans regarding the Jews during World War II. With contributions from leading Jewish and Ukrainian scholars on these complex and highly controversial topics, the book places Jewish-Ukrainian relations in a broader historical context and adds to the growing literature that seeks to go beyond the old paradigms of conflict and hostility. (Series: Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry - Vol. 26)
Lenin's Jewish Question
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Author)
In this first examination of Lenin's genealogical and political connections to East European Jews, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern reveals the broad cultural meanings of indisputable evidence that Lenin's maternal grandfather was a Jew. He examines why and how Lenin's Jewish relatives converted to Christianity, explains how Lenin's vision of Russian Marxism shaped his identity, and explores Lenin's treatment of party colleagues of Jewish origin and the Jewish Question in Europe. Petrovsky-Shtern also uncovers the continuous efforts of the Soviet communists to suppress Lenin's Jewishness and the no less persistent attempts of Russian extremists to portray Lenin as a Jew. In this fascinating book, Petrovsky-Shtern expands our understanding not only of Lenin, but also of Russian and Soviet handling of the Jewish Question.
The Anti-Imperial Choice: The Making of the Ukrainian Jew
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Author)
This book is the first to explore the Jewish contribution to, and integration with, Ukrainian culture. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern focuses on five writers and poets of Jewish descent whose literary activities span the 1880s to the 1990s. Unlike their East European contemporaries who disparaged the culture of Ukraine as second-rate, stateless, and colonial, these individuals embraced the Russian- and Soviet-dominated Ukrainian community, incorporating their Jewish concerns in their Ukrainian-language writings.
The author argues that the marginality of these literati as Jews fuelled their sympathy toward Ukrainians and their national cause. Providing extensive historical background, biographical detail, and analysis of each writer's poetry and prose, Petrovsky-Shtern shows how a Ukrainian-Jewish literary tradition emerged. Along the way, he challenges assumptions about modern Jewish acculturation and Ukrainian-Jewish relations.
Ukrainians and Jews, Realms of Interaction (In Ukrainian)
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Author)
Drawing from the new trends in the inter-ethnic and cross-cultural studies, this book points to several major lacunae in the research of Jewish Ukrainian relations and in the contextual religious, economic, and multilingual literary history of Jews on the Ukrainian lands, the study of which the author considers the major scholarly desiderata. Unlike most of the historiographical studies of Ukrainian Jewish relations published so far, this book suggests heretofore under-explored or neglected themes, sub-fields, documentary collections, and methodologies, thus, "mapping the field" for the next generation of young scholars and researchers interested in exploring Ukrainian multi-cultural legacy. The book starts with an essay that illuminates personal and social aspects of the author's encounter with (and discovery of) Ukraine as a cultural phenomenon, then offers insights into several recent explorations of Ukrainian-Jewish history and finally suggests a road map for researchers fascinated with the history and culture of Jews and Ukrainians in the Ukrainian lands.