When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry

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When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry

by Gal Beckerman

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | November 11, 2013 | Hardcover

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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 Goneis 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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 in

Published: November 11, 2013

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618573097

ISBN - 13: 9780618573097

Found in: History

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– More About This Product –

When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry

by Gal Beckerman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 in

Published: November 11, 2013

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618573097

ISBN - 13: 9780618573097

About the Book

Journalist Beckerman draws on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews with refuseniks, activists, Zionist "hooligans," and Congressional staffers to chronicle the mass exodus of Jews from the Soviet Union in 1989.

Read from the Book

Beneath the Earth 1963-1966 Yosef Mendelevich was sixteen when he saw the killing grounds for the first time. It was the fall of 1963. He had heard about the place: just outside of Riga, in the vast woods of tall fir trees and sprawling brush that the locals called Rumbuli. All one had to do was follow the train tracks east, toward Moscow. There, underneath the black soil, in five narrow ditches, lay twenty-five thousand bodies, Jewish bodies, killed by the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators in ten days at the end of 1941. Mendelevich knew this. All the Jews of Riga did. And they knew too about the small group of Jews - Zionists, they were calling themselves - who had searched the year before under the dark shadow of those trees for the exact place of the massacre. In the end, it hadn''t been so hard to find. Poking out of the earth were fragments of charred bone, the shriveled brown leather of a child''s shoe, a broken Star of David on a necklace. Mendelevich was a shy, withdrawn boy with pale, pimply skin and thick, horn-rimmed glasses. Most days when he wasn''t in school he was alone inside his parents'' house in a poor section of Riga. The outside world entered mainly through its brutal noises - the shouts of his Latvian neighbors stumbling home full of vodka; glass breaking; drunken fathers beating their children. Like any sensitive teenage introvert, he found his home, his only comfort, in his imaginings. In Yosef''s case, the world he escaped to in his mind was a re
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From the Publisher

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 Goneis 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.

About the Author

Gal Beckerman is a reporter atThe Forward. He was a longtime editor and staff writer at theColumbia Journalism Reviewand has also written for theNew York Times Book Review,Jerusalem Post, andUtne Reader, among other publications. He was a Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and the recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Editorial Reviews

"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 measu
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