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Purim 1953: Jews in the Communist empire

by Yosef Begun, Larry Pfeffer Jews in the Former Soviet Union are generally well aware that the Russian-dominated part of the Communist empire was getting increasingly anti-Semitic after 1948, when it became clear Israel would not turn “red.” What might have been had Stalin stayed in power? Yosef Begun’s memories from Moscow  Two years after […]

Before Crimea Was an Ethnic Russian Stronghold, It Was a Potential Jewish Homeland

by Jeffrey Veidlinger   “On the way to Sevastopol, not too far from Simferopol,” begins what is probably the most famous Yiddish song from the Soviet Union, “Hey Dzhankoye.” The song, named after a collective farm near the Crimean town of Dzhankoy, celebrates the alleged victories of the Soviet collectivization drive of the 1920s and 1930s, which, […]

‘I know tomorrow will be my last day': Uncovering Soviet Jewry’s Holocaust experience

by Smadar Shir For years the Soviet Jewry’s Holocaust was a forbidden secret. Now, through letters found in archives, Yad Vashem is working to make the voices silenced behind the Iron Curtain heard   “To my dear brother, our city Priluki was taken over quite suddenly and very quickly by the German occupiers. My brother […]

Flashback to 1970 Leningrad Trial

Widespread Demonstrations in Israel Protesting Leningrad Trial and New Trials December 22, 1970 JERUSALEM (Dec. 21) JTA Israel was still seething with protest today over the Leningrad trial and new trials of Jews expected to start soon in the Soviet Union. Demonstrations were held on university campuses in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The trial […]

Report: Estimated Jewish Population in the former Soviet Union (FSU)

Researcher Allan Miller has compiled numbers from reports and news articles over the past several years to determine the estimated current Jewish population throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU).  The breakdown within each country may not equal the total for the country because populations for some cities are missing.   Estimated Present […]

Latvia Bans Public Display of Soviet and Nazi Symbols

The Associated Press reports that Latvia’s Parliament has banned the public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols, as well as any promotion of fascist or communist ideologies. This includes visual displays of swastikas and the hammer and sickle and the singing of Soviet or Nazi anthems. It is expected to be signed into law  by […]

Limmud FSU Conference Held in Vitebsk, Belarus

From JPost: VITEBSK, Belarus – The latest incarnation of Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) took place for the first time in Belarus over the weekend, one of the most storied countries in Jewish history. Once home to a thriving Jewish community decimated by World War II, Belarus produced nine Israeli presidents, two Nobel Prize laureates […]

The Passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg

We at the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union are saddened by the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He was a devoted public servant and a friend of all  those around the world fleeing from religious discrimination; in particular, the millions of Jews from the former Soviet Union who owe him a […]

Siberian City of Tomsk to Return Wooden Synagogue to the Jewish Community

JTA — The Siberian city of Tomsk will return an old, wooden synagogue built by Jewish soldiers to the Jewish community. The synagogue and surrounding complex will be handed over to the Jewish Community of Tomsk after the municipality finds alternative housing for some 15 families who are currently living there, Mayor Nikolay Nikolaychuk said, according […]

Legionnaires Day in Latvia Draws Protesters

On Saturday, March 16th, over 1000 Latvians honored Nazi-allied World War II soldiers. Violence almost erupted between the Latvian participants and the ethnic Russians, who are a minority in the country. The police used force, dragging some participants away and detaining four, to prevent any tumult. Read the AP article here. March 16th is considered […]