When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone

When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone

The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry

Book - 2010
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Houghton
The untold story of the twenty-five-year struggle to free Soviet Jews, drawing on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews, and told from the perspective of the individuals on the frontlines.

At the end of World War II, nearly three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradox—unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave.When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone is the astonishing and inspiring story of their rescue.

Journalist Gal Beckerman draws on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews with refuseniks, activists, Zionist “hooligans,” and Congressional staffers. He shows not only how the movement led to a mass exodus in 1989, but also how it shaped the American Jewish community, giving it a renewed sense of spiritual purpose and teaching it to flex its political muscle. He also makes a convincing case that the movement put human rights at the center of American foreign policy for the very first time, helping to end the Cold War.

In cinematic detail, the book introduces us to all the major players, from the flamboyant Meir Kahane, head of the paramilitary Jewish Defense League, to Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who labored in a Siberian prison camp for over a decade, to Lynn Singer, the small, fiery Long Island housewife who went from organizing local rallies to strong-arming Soviet diplomats. This multi-generational saga, filled with suspense and packed with revelations, provides an essential missing piece of Cold War and Jewish history.



Baker & Taylor
Draws on newly released government documents and hundreds of interviews to trace the three-decade effort to protect Jewish Soviet Union citizens after World War II, providing coverage of the movement's impact on Judaism, the Cold War and immigration.

Blackwell Publishing
"Gal Beckerman has written the definitive account of what might be the most successful human rights campaign of our time. This is a wonderful book: The narrative is thrilling and propulsive; the writing is beautiful; and the research absolutely authoritative. The movement to free Soviet Jewry will be studied for years to come as a model of non-violent civil disobedience, and Gal Beckerman's book will be read years from now as the masterwork on the subject."---Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic, and author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror

"Gal Beckerman's book shines a long-needed spotlight on one of the great human rights struggles of the past century. It is dramatic, revelatory and deeply inspiring."---Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars

"Among the great liberation strivings of the twentieth century---civil rights in America, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the independence of India---one of the most painfully achieved was the exodus of Jews from Soviet oppression. Gal Beckerman recounts the historic trajectory of this grand assertion of human rights with passionate clarity and pellucid conviction. His tireless persistence in pursuit of a stirring heroic chronicle is itself a form of heroism."---Cynthia Ozick

"Gal Beckerman has written the Parting the Waters of the Jewish experience. In this stirring epic---intellectually brilliant, historically authoritative and emotionally heartfelt in equal measure---he has chronicled one of the great liberation struggles of modern times. And he has placed himself at the apex of his generation of nonfiction writers."---Samuel G. Freedman, author of Jew vs. Jew

"A beautifully written book with both depth and cinematic qualities."---Grry Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan

"A fascinating, deeply researched, and revealing account of the brave Jews in the Soviet Union and of those in the West who worked tirelessly on their behalf."---Sir Martin Gilbert, author of Churchill: A Life

At the end of World War II, nearly three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradox: unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state yet forbidden to leave. Those who tried were followed by the KGB, often denied jobs and higher education, even forced into menial labor or imprisoned simply for studying Hebrew or gathering with other Jews. When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone is the astonishing and inspiring account of their rescue. It is one of the great exodus stories of modern times.

Journalist Gal Beckerman draws on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of interviews with refuseniks, activists, Zionist "hooligans," and congressional staffers. He shows how small acts of defiance in the Soviet Union turned into an open struggle waged by thousands who protested in the streets and a small group who even plotted to hijack a plane and fly it over the border.

The attempted hijacking ignited an international movement of neocons, peaceniks, Democrats, Republicans, literary figures, and human rights activists. It galvanized the American Jewish community, teaching it to flex its political muscle and giving it a renewed sense of spiritual purpose. Indeed, it helped end the Cold War, by putting human rights at the center of American foreign policy for the first time.

The battle to save Soviet Jews, at its heart, is a story about people against power. This multigenerational saga, filled with suspense and packed with revelations, tells of the heroic individuals who, unable to accept an immoral status quo, stood up to a superpower and emerged victorious.

"At last, the Soviet Jewry movement has found its chronicler. To read this book is to relive the heroism and the heartache, the desperation and the jubilation that marked the long struggle to free Soviet Jews. This is a moving, reliable and memorable narrative of one of the greatest human rights dramas of our time."---Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and author of American Judaism: A History

Baker
& Taylor

Draws on newly released government documents to trace the three-decade effort to protect Jewish Soviet citizens after World War II, providing coverage of the movement's impact on Judaism, the Cold War, and immigration.
Draws on newly released government documents to trace the three-decade effort to protect Jewish Soviet citizens after World War II, providing coverage of the movement's impact on Judaism, the Cold War, and immigration.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
ISBN: 9780618573097
0618573097
Characteristics: 598 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm

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debwalker Dec 08, 2010

Soviet Jewry’s underground support networks.
A New Yorker's Reviewers’ favorite from 2010

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