Abstract

In the spring of 1944, the Yiddish poet and partisan Avrom Sutzkever was airlifted into the unoccupied Soviet Union. With him he brought more than new information about the Holocaust. He brought a distinct approach to witnessing, one that summoned Soviet Jews, and refugees especially, to tell him their stories in response. Sutzkever’s testimony differed from other important testimonial publications that appeared in the Soviet media at the time. In the latter, we find a stylistic and conceptual separation between the voice of Jewish victim and Jewish advocate, observer and interpreter of catastrophe. By contrast, Sutzkever’s work, the epic poem “Kol nidre” in particular, emphasizes dialogue and reciprocity among different witness perspectives. His writing also ascribes dignity and poetic beauty to the voice of the Jewish victim from Poland-Lithuania. In this essay, these observations about Sutzkever’s writing are set in conversation with epistolary responses to the author from Soviet Jewish refugees.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 1-34
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-17
Open Access
No
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