Shush! Growing Up Jewish under Stalin: A Memoir
A book talk with author EMIL DRAITSER, CUNY Hunter College, Russian Division, and discussant DAVID MYERS, UCLA, History
Thursday, May 14, 200912:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Many years after making his way to America from Odessa in Soviet Ukraine, Emil Draitser made a startling discovery: every time he uttered the word "Jewish"—even in casual conversation—he lowered his voice. This behavior was a natural by-product, he realized, of growing up in the anti-Semitic, post-Holocaust Soviet Union, when "Shush!" was the most frequent word he heard: "Don't use your Jewish name in public. Don't speak a word of Yiddish. And don't cry over your murdered relatives." This compelling memoir conveys the reader back to Draitser's childhood and provides a unique account of midtwentieth-century life in Russia as the young Draitser struggles to reconcile the harsh values of Soviet society with the values of his working-class Jewish family. Lively, evocative, and rich with humor, this unforgettable story ends with the death of Stalin and, through life stories of the author's ancestors, presents a sweeping panorama of two centuries of Jewish history in Russia.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Center for Jewish Studies