Are Jews Russian?

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Sep 25 06:32:57 MDT 1996


On Tue, 24 Sep 1996, David Walters wrote:

>
> Russified Jews, like their German, British and US counterparts often
> became the reposity of the national culture of those countries. When
> Hitler destroyed the German Jewish community, he essentially detroyed
> what had been a treasure of traditional and contempory German culture.
>

Louis: I strongly recommend the Red Cavalry stories of Isaac Babel for a
fascinating study of the tensions between traditional Jews, "Russified
Jews", Communists and Cossacks.

Babel represents himself as a figure in theses stories, based on his
experience in the Russian civil war. He was a Bolshevik journalist who had
made a name for himself with his Odessa stories about traditional Jewish
life. The stories are highly original but do show a certain influence of
Modernism. They remind me somewhat of Joyce's "Dubliners".

Babel is attached to a red cavalry detachment made up of Cossacks! They
are fighting against the whites in the Pale territory. Babel is part of
the traditional enemy of the Jew, who now having become revolutionary, are
assigned not only to defend the revolution, but protect Jewish life.

Babel is caught between the two worlds. Unlike Trotsky or Rosa Luxemburg,
Babel retained enough of his Jewish heritage to provide some stunning
insights into the contradictions of these people in a new society.

Highly recommended.



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