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By Kate Brown

This can be a biography of a borderland among Russia and Poland, a area the place, in 1925, humans pointed out as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived facet via part. Over the following 3 many years, this mosaic of cultures was once modernized and homogenized out of life by way of the ruling may possibly of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and at last, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. through the Nineteen Fifties, this "no position" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mixture of peoples that outlined the quarter used to be destroyed. Brown's research is grounded within the lifetime of the village and shtetl, within the personalities and small histories of daily life during this region. In outstanding element, she records how those regimes, bureaucratically after which violently, separated, named, and regimented this difficult neighborhood into specific ethnic teams. Drawing on lately opened records, ethnography, and oral interviews that have been unavailable a decade in the past, A Biography of No position finds Stalinist and Nazi historical past from the viewpoint of the distant borderlands, therefore bringing the outer edge to the guts of historical past. we're given, briefly, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, in addition to a glimpse on the margins of twentieth-century "progress."

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A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland

This can be a biography of a borderland among Russia and Poland, a area the place, in 1925, humans pointed out as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived facet by way of part. Over the subsequent 3 many years, this mosaic of cultures used to be modernized and homogenized out of life by means of the ruling may possibly of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and eventually, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism.

Additional resources for A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland

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For, unfortunately, we cannot recover Saulevich’s thoughts. We only know the “facts,” the kind of data gleaned from a job résumé or police report. 43 In 1914 Saulevich graduated from the Dvinsk Technical College and went to Kharkov to study in the agricultural institute, but his education was interrupted by World War I and the Russian revolutions. Kharkov was the center of the Bolshevik movement in Ukraine, and Saulevich fell under its spell and gravitated leftward. In 1917 he turned his back on his entitlement and became a member of the Polish Socialist Union.

The Polish-Soviet War had ended unexpectedly for Polish communists. They had assumed that during the war Polish workers in Poland would rise up and join the Red Army, and that Poles, who had just been freed from a century and a half of rule by Moscow, would turn back again, persuaded by yet another invading Russian army to follow communists down the red path. This historic eventuality did not Inventory 21 happen, and at the conference the words of Felix Kon’—“Our fatherland is here and not there”8—rang out with the great hope of rationalizing compensation, emphasizing that loyalty to the socialist cause stood above loyalty to Poland.

39 The tsarist government had banned schools and newspapers in Polish and Ukrainian, and since few peasants spoke Russian, most of the population was cut off from education and written sources of information. As a consequence, religion eclipsed education. 40 Most of the culture that existed in the borderlands after the revolution no longer showed up in libraries, theaters, and drawing rooms, where literacy and mobility had stan- 36 A Biography of No Place dardized languages and national identities.

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