Preserving ‘Events that are Vanishing Like Smoke’: The Black Book as Community of Survivors and Writers 1943–1946

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  • 1 University of Delaware, Newark, de, USA

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The Black Book (in Russian, Chernaia kniga) was an encyclopedic anthology compiled between 1943 and 1946 about Nazi crimes against Jews in occupied Soviet territory. This paper argues that the people who worked together to produce the book—editors and writers mainly based in Moscow, and survivors throughout Soviet territories—inadvertently created a community through the attempt to document the catastrophe. The creation of The Black Book allowed its compilers to express a sense of communal and familial responsibility, grieve for their losses, and demonstrate as Jews their loyalty to the Soviet state that had defeated the Nazis.

  • 16

    Ibid., 40.

  • 17

    Y. Gekhman, ‘Meyn heym shtetl Broilov,’ Eynikayt (May 25, 1944); idem, ‘Na rodine: Brailov,’ in Ehrenburg and Grossman, eds, Chernaia kniga, 40–46.

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  • 19

    Liudmila B. 1997, Rishon Letsion, Israel, interview code 33782, usc Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

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