In this Book

Anna's Shtetl
summary
A rare view of a childhood in a European ghetto.
 
Anna Spector was born in 1905 in Korsun, a Ukrainian town on the Ros River, eighty miles south of Kiev. Held by Poland until 1768 and annexed by the Tsar in 1793 Korsun and its fluid ethnic population were characteristic of the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe: comprised of Ukrainians, Cossacks, Jews and other groups living uneasily together in relationships punctuated by violence. Anna’s father left Korsun in 1912 to immigrate to America, and Anna left in 1919, having lived through the Great War, the Bolshevik Revolution, and part of the ensuing civil war, as well as several episodes of more or less organized pogroms—deadly anti-Jewish riots begun by various invading military detachments during the Russian Civil War and joined by some of Korsun’s peasants.
 
In the early 1990s Anna met Lawrence A. Coben, a medical doctor seeking information about the shtetls to recapture a sense of his own heritage. Anna had near-perfect recall of her daily life as a girl and young woman in the last days in one of those historic but doomed communities. Her rare account, the product of some 300 interviews, is valuable because most personal memoirs of ghetto life are written by men. Also, very often, Christian neighbors appear in ghetto accounts as a stolid peasant mass assembled on market days, as destructive mobs, or as an arrogant and distant collection of government officials and nobility. Anna’s story is exceptionally rich in a sense of the Korsun Christians as friends, neighbors, and individuals.
 
Although the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe are now virtually gone, less than 100 years ago they counted a population of millions. The firsthand records we have from that lost world are therefore important, and this view from the underrecorded lives of women and the young is particularly welcome.  
 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Front Matter
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xviii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation
  2. pp. xvii-xx
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. The Two Shevchenkos
  2. pp. 1-8
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. The Town
  2. pp. 9-10
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Grandmother Beyla
  2. pp. 11-17
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Grandfather Avrum
  2. pp. 18-25
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. Aaron and Leya
  2. pp. 26-30
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. The Surprise (1914-1916)
  2. pp. 31-33
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7. The Marketplace
  2. pp. 34-40
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 8. Nobility and Obscurity
  2. pp. 41-46
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 9. At Alta’s House (1916-1917)
  2. pp. 47-53
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 10. Anna’s Prize (1916-1917)
  2. pp. 54-59
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 11. Between Gentile and Jew
  2. pp. 60-67
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 12. Cousin Zavl
  2. pp. 68-72
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 13. Leya the Smuggler (1917-1919)
  2. pp. 73-80
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 14. The First Pogrom (March 1-8, 1918)
  2. pp. 81-88
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 15. The Aftermath (March 1918)
  2. pp. 89-92
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 16. The Germans Occupy Korsun (1918)
  2. pp. 93-101
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 17. Fall and Winter in Prewar Korsun
  2. pp. 102-105
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 18. The Worst Winter (1918-1919)
  2. pp. 106-117
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 19. Spring and Summer in Prewar Korsun
  2. pp. 118-121
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 20. Spring and Summer (1919)
  2. pp. 122-127
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 21. The Third Pogrom(August 13-26, 1919)
  2. pp. 128-134
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 22. How to Tell a Sollop
  2. pp. 135-137
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 23. The Two Korsuns
  2. pp. 138-145
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 24. Moscow (1919-1921)
  2. pp. 146-158
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 25. Petrograd (1921)
  2. pp. 159-169
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 170-174
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix A
  2. pp. 175-182
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix B
  2. pp. 183-186
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix C
  2. pp. 187-194
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix D
  2. pp. 195-198
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 199-222
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 223-232
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 233-243
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.