By Kate Brown
It is a biography of a borderland among Russia and Poland, a area the place, in 1925, humans pointed out as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived aspect through aspect. Over the following 3 a long time, this mosaic of cultures was once modernized and homogenized out of life by way of the ruling may well of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and at last, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. by means of the Nineteen Fifties, this "no position" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mixture of peoples that outlined the sector was once destroyed. Brown's examine is grounded within the lifetime of the village and shtetl, within the personalities and small histories of daily life during this sector. In outstanding aspect, she records how those regimes, bureaucratically after which violently, separated, named, and regimented this difficult neighborhood into particular ethnic teams. Drawing on lately opened files, ethnography, and oral interviews that have been unavailable a decade in the past, A Biography of No position finds Stalinist and Nazi background from the viewpoint of the distant borderlands, therefore bringing the outer edge to the guts of historical past. we're given, briefly, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, in addition to a glimpse on the margins of twentieth-century "progress."
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Extra resources for A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland
Polish aristocracy revolted against tsarist rule twice, in 1830 and 1863. Both times they failed, and afterward the tsars unleashed royal vengeance, divesting four out of five Polish families of their aristocratic crests and banning the sale of land to Catholics. 35 They arrived in groups, pooled their money, and bought the estates of bankrupt Polish aristocracy. Around the new farms they built religious communities that lived peaceably with the surrounding villages of peasants. By the onset of the Russian Revolution, the upholstered existence of Polish landowners had already faded.
They often lived in compact hamlets, organized around religious sects (Lutheran, Mennonite, Baptist, less frequently Catholic), and until the 1880s they had been granted special conditions (tax breaks and exemption from army service) that made them autonomous—independent of the landowning nobility and distinct from the peasant classes. Even so, the German populations were in no way homogeneous. 49 Deportation and the problems of returning and reclaiming land worked especially to mark Germans and Jews as distinct nationalities.
He finally spoke a few words and turned the floor over to Mr. Prichodko, who gave a speech in Ukrainian and introduced General Pozniakov, the very same man who forced the invading Polish army from Marchlevsk in 1920. Following the general, the crowd heard from the German chairman of the neighboring Pulin German Autonomous Region, who announced: “Five years ago I was in Dovbysh. Today I can’t recognize it. 27 No incident was too small to report in the Radziecka: no task was too large for the socialist proletariat to accomplish.
A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland by Kate Brown