Before starting to teach about the Soviet Jewry Struggle, we recommend you give this short introduction: 

The Soviet Union was one of the two superpowers in the world (along with the United States), but this power did not last and disbanded in 1991, only after 74 years of existence.

The occupying government tried to erase any non-Russian communist identity.

In the Soviet Union there were 3 million Jews, but the policy was against religion, any religion.

The Soviet regime banned Jewish life, but on the other hand prevented Jews from entering Israel.

From the point of view of the Soviet leadership – the exodus of the Jews was a symbol of the failure of propaganda that the Soviet Union is a paradise on earth. Therefore, any expression of Judaism, Zionism, sympathy for Israel or the desire to immigrate to Israel was considered treason. Many were arrested without actual crime, and sent to jail for espionage or treason.

The Soviet government treated citizens as state property, and it was forbidden to leave the country without special permission: not for a trip and certainly not to leave the USSR.

Anyone who wanted to leave had to go through the Interior Ministry, and usually get a refusal. In the Soviet Union, unemployment was prohibited by law, anyone who was marked as a “traitor” (= whoever wants to leave is a “traitor”) was also usually fired from his job and thus became a criminal.

Contributing Organization

Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

Original lesson in Hebrew

השיעור המקורי בעברית

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