On Bruno Kreisky

Kreisky, Israel and Jewish Identity by Daniel Ashheim Published by University of New Orleans Press, 2022, pp.225 Bruno Kreisky was the longest serving Chancellor of Austria (1970-1983). He was also a Jew who had fled to Sweden when Hitler annexed the country to the Third Reich. More than 20 family members perished in the Shoah, … Read more

The Story of Russia

The Story of Russia by Orlando Figes Published by Bloomsbury (London 2022), pp. 348, price £25.00 Reviewed by Colin Shindler Why is Russia as it is — from holy Tsars to Soviet commissars to Putin’s nationalists? The historian Orlando Figes’s latest book provides fascinating insights into this contemporary conundrum. All countries are embedded in national … Read more

Sergei Lavrov and Jewish Neo-Nazis

The remarks of Sergei Lavrov to Italian television last Sunday that Hitler was of ‘Jewish blood’ and that ‘the most ardent antisemites were Jews’ shocked Jews around the world. Deliberate or not, they caused a rupture between Moscow and Jerusalem. Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid reacted personally — as Jews. The late father of the … Read more

Boris, Bibi and the Press

DURING THE PAST WEEK, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been engulfed in wave after wave of allegations and accusations about his conduct in the highest office of public service in the UK. He has seemingly slipped deeper and deeper into the slime of sleaze. On a wide range of issues, a familiar story has … Read more

On Matzpen

Review of Lutz Fiedler’s Matzpen: A History of Israeli Dissidence (Edinburgh University Press 2020) pp.408 Lutz Fiedler’s highly informative book about the far Left group, Matzpen, is a welcome addition to the recording of both Jewish and Israeli history. This book started life as a doctoral thesis under the supervision of Professor Dani Diner, a stalwart of … Read more

In the Jaws of the Crocodile

Review of Emil Draitser’s In the Jaws of a Crocodile: A Soviet Memoir, published by the University of Wisconsin Press 2021, pp.276 What’s a Purim miracle? A Jewish boy getting into Moscow University! Charlie Chaplin once commented that ‘to truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it’. For Jews, … Read more

On Isi Leibler

Review of Suzanne Rutland’s Lone Voice: The Wars of Isi Leibler, published by Gefen Books 2012, pp. 663 This book is about the life and times of Isi Leibler, a leader of Australian Jewry and a bare knuckle fighter for Jewish rights. Lone Voice: The Wars of Isi Leibler (Gefen Books) is also an account of … Read more

Survival on the Margins

Review of Eliyana R. Adler’s Survival on the Margins: Polish Jewish Refugees in the Wartime Soviet Union. Published by Harvard University Press This book tells the story of the tens of thousands of Polish Jews who were forcibly deported to special settlements and camps in the interior of the Soviet Union in 1940. They had … Read more

Leningrad 1970

Fifty years ago, on Christmas Day 1970, a handful of British Jews gathered in the bitter cold outside the Soviet Embassy in Bayswater. The news had reached London the night before that two Soviet Jews, Mark Dymshits and Edward Kuznetsov, had been sentenced to death. The announcement on Christmas Eve of these draconian sentences had … Read more

Jewish Activism in the Soviet Union

Review of Yuli Kosharovsky’s “We are Jews Again: Jewish Activism in the Soviet Union” (Syracuse University Press 2017) pp.440 David Khavkin, the Podolsky family, Anatoly Rubin, Joseph Schneider, Baruch Veissman – such names are largely unknown to Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora. Yet these people, and many others, kept the flame of Jewish … Read more