Pogroms and Blood Libel in the Soviet Union

The history and memory of pogroms and blood libels were central to the Jewish experience in late Tsarist Russia. And 1917 Revolution and subsequent Jewish emancipation didn’t wash them away. Jews were victims of unprecedented violence during the Russian Civil War, and accusations of ritual murder persisted. This forced Jewish communities to ally with the Bolsheviks during the Civil War, and mostly remain so, even as official Soviet attention to antisemitism became increasingly ambivalent. How did this memory of blood libel accusations and pogroms shape the experience of Soviet Jews in the interwar period and after?


Elissa Bemporad is a Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center specializing the Jewish History and the Russian and Soviet history. She’s the author of Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk, which won the National Jewish Book Award and of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History and with Joyce Warren, Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators. Her new book is Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets​ published by Oxford University Press.


Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, “Language of Violence,” Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, 1992.