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Fourteen Convicted, Three Million Condemned: The Slansky Affair and the Reconstitution of Jewish Identities After the Holocaust

  • Author(s): Blumenthal, Helaine Debra
  • Advisor(s): Connelly, John
  • et al.
Abstract

In this study, I examine how Jews in the United States, Western Europe, and Israel reacted to the Slansky Affair, the Doctors' Plot, and the general wave of overt Soviet antisemitism which took shape in late 1952 until Stalin's death in early March 1953. I explore how the Holocaust, the creation of a Jewish state, and the Cold War affected Jewish conceptions of antisemitism as well as the nature and character of Jewish collective action on both the global and the domestic stage. After investigating the ways in which Jews understood and reacted to the trial culturally, religiously, organizationally, nationally, and politically, I assert that in the early 1950s, Jews were in a process of redefinition. The role of Israel in diasporic Jewish affairs, the relationship between Jews and the Left, the position of Jews in the Cold War, and the nature and character of Jewish central leadership figured prominently in the lives of individual Jews and Jewish communities in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War. This is not an investigation of the Slansky Trial itself. Rather, through examining how Jews understood and made sense of the Trial, I construct a narrative of Jewish identity politics in the early 1950s.

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