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Editorial Reviews. Review. "The Phantom Holocaust traces the story of a shadow Soviet film The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (Jewish Cultures of the World) - Kindle edition by Olga Gershenson. Download it.
Table of contents
- Memory, Media, and Technology: Conference Speakers
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- The Holocaust on Soviet Screens — University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
But the more directly filmmakers engaged with the Holocaust, the more likely their work was to be banned by state censors. Some films were never made while others came out in such limited release that the Holocaust remained a phantom on Soviet screens.
Focusing on work by both celebrated and unknown Soviet directors and screenwriters, Olga Gershenson has written the first book about all Soviet narrative films dealing with the Holocaust from to In addition to studying the completed films, Gershenson analyzes the projects that were banned at various stages of production. The book draws on archival research and in-depth interviews to tell the sometimes tragic and sometimes triumphant stories of filmmakers who found authentic ways to represent the Holocaust in the face of official silencing. By uncovering little known works, Gershenson makes a significant contribution to the international Holocaust filmography.
Many Jewish public figures were arrested, persecuted, or killed. During this dark era, the subject of the Holocaust was off limits for filmmakers. Although more personal and reflective than before, most of these new war movies did not touch upon the Holocaust at all, as if it had never happened.
But several films created by courageous filmmakers were the exceptions. Aleksandr Aksoldov.
This film had a remarkable history: set in a Ukrainian town during the post-revolutionary Civil War, it features a relationship between a Russian commissar woman and a poor Jewish family. In the key scene, portrayed with great emotional force, the commissar has a vision of the Holocaust to come. The film was finally released only during Perestroika, in , to great international success. Not every censored project was that lucky. The plot tells a devastating story: a nameless Jewish woman wanders the streets of occupied Odessa with her little son, hoping to hold out until the deportation ends. She tries to find shelter from the cold and a safe haven for her boy, but to no avail.
Both freeze to death. The censors forced numerous changes on the screenplay, only to ban it in the end. This long-suffering screenplay was finally made into a film in the Perestroika era, when the Soviet censorship retreated. Boris Ermolaev , sadly, resulted in a strange allegorical tale stripped of historic detail and overloaded with Christian allusions and dark symbolism. Several other films made during that time focus on the events of the Holocaust, none of which are very memorable or significant.
Set in Kyiv on the eve of the mass execution in Babyn Yar, it tells the story of an old Jewish tailor played by beloved Soviet actor Innokenti Smoktunovsky who spends the last night with his family in their soon-to-be-lost home.
The film ends with a procession of Jews being marched to Babyn Yar — that is to certain death. Even today, it is by far the best-known Soviet Holocaust film.
Memory, Media, and Technology: Conference Speakers
At the end of , the Soviet Union was dissolved. Along with the state, the entire Soviet film industry ceased to exist. The people who ran the Soviet Union were felons who were not elected to power. Many of them had been wanted by the law, or had served time in jail, before they achieved their positions of authority. Yet American president Franklin Roosevelt did, as did various Western celebrities].
Many of the people who were murdered or oppressed were politically conservative or moderate Russians who simply opposed Soviet communism. But some of the people who were killed by the Soviets were political leftists who, for certain reasons, opposed the Soviet government, or, were seen as a political threat to the government. The Soviet holocaust is rarely mentioned in the West today. The reason for that is because public mention of that holocaust — and calling it a holocaust — would cause the Nazi-committed holocaust to be significantly overshadowed.
Such overshadowing would have major political, racial and financial consequences, not just for the Jews but for other people as well. Death by gunshot: millions of innocent Russian citizens were rounded up, jailed in various detention centers, and then shot in the back of the head — right where the head meets the neck.
Death by famine: in the Ukraine, the Soviet government created a famine by seizing livestock, crops, grain and other necessities from the citizens. Any citizen who resisted the governmental food or livestock mandates was usually shot. Desperate Ukrainian citizens ate anything to try to survive the famine: bugs, grass, even leather shoes. At least seven million people starved to death in the Ukrainian famine that began in The Jewish commissar L. Kaganovich oversaw that famine. There was another Soviet-produced famine in the Volga region of Russia beginning in , in which up to5,, people died.
Both famines were carefully planned by the Soviet government . Death by gulag: Russian citizens were rounded up by the millions and put into Soviet forced-labor camps called gulags. Many gulag prisoners died from over-work, malnourishment or disease. Prisoners were also abused — for example, some were forced to eat human feces. Other were routinely beaten or left in freezing temperatures.
A prisoner who was unable to reach quota — i. The gulags were usually located in very remote areas of Russia, meaning that even if a prisoner managed to escape, he would probably not reach a populated area and would then die from exposure to the elements. Unlike the victims of the later, Nazi-committed holocaust, the victims of the Soviet holocaust were mostly innocent citizens. They had usually done nothing wrong. The distinction between the types of victims in those two holocausts is noteworthy. Victims of Soviet genocide Interestingly, apart from the Soviet government, Jews also dominated many Eastern European communist governments , and as such they oversaw what might be referred to as micro-holocausts, i.
Some Jews might make excuses for the Soviet holocaust. They might say that the Jews in Russia were only responding to anti-Semitism when they carried it out. Murdering 20 million people and enslaving millions more for decades is not an appropriate response to a social feature that was caused by Jewish behavior in the first place.
But of course it was: certain people were methodically murdered over a long period of time. Certain people were selected for persecution. After all, Hitler gave his victims many opportunities to flee Europe during the s — and many did. A sad footnote to the genocide committed in the Soviet state is that no major Soviet officials were ever legally charged with committing murder, even after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The first holocaust claimed more innocents and lasted far longer than the Nazi-committed murder event . Empty containers which may have held cyanide-producing pellets — which were apparently found at German concentration camps by the allies after WWII — prove nothing, since such pellets were used throughout Europe long before WWII in pest-control fumigation.
Had the Nazis wanted to focus solely on the Jews, they would have. The ideology of communism was spread throughout Europe by activists who were usually Jewish, e.
The Holocaust on Soviet Screens — University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
You sir, are peddling a bunch of vile lies, interspersed with a grain of truth here and there. Fortunately, your post is so long and disjointed that very few people with bother to read it. Just a small correction: Tashkent and Uzbekistan are not two different places — Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan. Furthermore, people were not only evacuated to warm places like that — my father was evacuated to the south of Moscow with his nursery he was 3 , while my mother was born in Shadrinsk in the Urals west of Siberia , where her parents were evacuated with the military plant her father, an engineer, worked for.
She was born in January , the temperature outside was 42 below zero Celsius. Your comment may be no longer than 2, characters, approximately words. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments. Still from Fate of a Man. Courtesy Olga Gershenson. Access 24 comments. A correction is necessary. Mark Burgh says:. AuntySemantic says:.