This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #general

Bruce Drake <BDrake@...>

The early 1900s saw many political and social movements sweep across the shtetls of
Europe, such as the Bund which was a secular Jewish organization that shared many
core beliefs of Marxist groups that sought the liberation of all workers. But while
the Marxist idea of a "workers' paradise" seemed to have a natural appeal in
countries where many were oppressed by low wages and intolerable working
conditions, few Jews were Communists and those that were, according to one
historian, "rarely cared about Jewish concerns and often virtually stopped being
Jewish." This account of "Jewish Communism in Vishnevets", >from the Yizkor book of
that Ukrainian town, tells of life after the Russians arrived in 1939 and two local
Jewish Communists rose to power during the time the Russians held sway. These two
"two started to 'purify' in the Stalinist style and to distribute power and its
benefits among their family members, relatives, and brothers in ideology, providing
them with a secure income on the backs of the people they evicted >from their jobs
." Historian Steven Zipperstein, reflecting on the impact the rise of Communism had
on Jews after the 1917 revolution, recalled a bitter "joke" >from the era: ""The
Trotskys made the revolution but the Bronshteins [Trotsky's original
Jewish name] will pay for it."


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, Md

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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