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Média, informations et émotions

To Flee or Not To Flee

The conflicting messages of Soviet wartime propaganda and the Holocaust, 1941
Fuir ou ne pas fuir : l’Holocauste et les messages contradictoires de la propagande soviétique pendant la guerre, 1941
Kiril Feferman
p. 517-542

Résumés

Après le déclenchement de la guerre germano‑soviétique, les institutions médiatiques soviétiques remplirent leur rôle principal d’avant‑guerre d’outil de propagande. La description des politiques anti‑juives allemandes entra pour une large part dans le champ de leurs fonctions, ne serait‑ce que parce que de tels rapports ne pouvaient pas être authentifiés tant que les territoires soviétiques resteraient sous domination ennemie. Par conséquent, il est probable qu’ils étaient considérés par nombre de Soviétiques simplement comme une nouvelle manipulation de la part de la propagande soviétique, parmi eux les Ginsburg, une famille juive, originaire de Rostov‑sur‑le‑Don, ville du sud de la Russie. Les médias soviétiques peuvent être crédités dans une grande mesure d’avoir informé et sensibilisé le public sur les véritables intentions des Allemands envers les juifs, ce qui finit par trouver écho auprès des Ginsburg, incitant les uns à évacuer pendant que d’autres songeaient à partir. Toutefois, l’information cruciale sur la proximité des forces allemandes était souvent indisponible ou déformée. L’impact des messages émanant des médias soviétiques dépendait de leur adéquation avec la mentalité de leur public, tels les Ginsburg, et de la possibilité ou du souhait de ce public de vérifier les contenus auprès d’autres sources, principalement par le biais de la rumeur colportée par les réfugiés. Prenant en considération la peur que la famille avait des censeurs soviétiques et le désir de ses membres de ne pas s’inquiéter mutuellement, on peut dire que la pénétration des notions des médias soviétiques est notable en 1941.

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Texte intégral

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs
in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
George Orwell, 1984

  • 1 E.g., Vladimir Brovkin, Russia after Lenin : Politics, Culture and Society, 1921‑1929 (London : Rou (...)
  • 2 E.g., Frank Ellis, “The Media as a Social Engineer,” in Catriona Kelly and David Sheperd, eds., Rus (...)
  • 3 Timothy Johnston, Being Soviet : Identity, Rumour, and Everyday Life under Stalin 1939–1953 (New Yo (...)

1In the prewar Soviet Union, ordinary people became skeptical of official media outlets as uptodate purveyors of information.1 Rather, they were perceived as regime propaganda tools for shaping public opinion.2 To keep current in this “fog of peace,” citizens turned to informal channels such as word of mouth.3

  • 4 Ibid., 30‑34.
  • 5 Karel Berkhoff, Motherland in Danger : Soviet Propaganda during World War II (Cambridge, MA : Harva (...)

2With the SovietGerman war in June 1941, Soviet media might have undertaken a new role to inform the public in a timely fashion about frontline developments. But that prospective mission was counterbalanced by censorship concerns lest military secrets be leaked.4 Consequently, one could anticipate that there continued to exist a gap between media serving as propaganda instruments and their role as information supplier.5 This discrepancy could prove detrimental for such a vulnerable group as Jews who were specially targeted by the invaders and thus needed to know the proximity of German forces. Perplexed and mistrustful of Soviet propaganda messages, some Jews decided to stay under German rule.

  • 6 For the Holocaust in the central Soviet press, see e.g., Mordechai Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the (...)
  • 7 Rostov was occupied for the second time between July 1942 and February 1943.
  • 8 The collection of letters is located in the Yad Vashem, archive in Jerusalem. All translations from (...)

3The article examines the behavior of one Soviet Jewish family, the Ginsburgs, in the city of RostovonDon6 (henceforth Rostov), from June 22 to December 31, 1941 as a case study in the possible impact of Soviet media. During this period, the family faced a crucial decision: to flee or to stay. Official Soviet media, whether accessed directly or interpreted by third parties (relatives, friends, neighbors, etc), served as a major source of information for them. This study analyzes how Soviet media handled two issues of critical importance to all Jews: the course of the war, in particular, the possible German seizure of Rostov, and the German mistreatment of Jews. Within this timespan—in November 1941—the city was indeed seized by the Germans.7 How this official information along with sporadic rumors framed public consciousness is analyzed via a collection of letters addressed by members of the Ginsburg family to their relatives in the Soviet hinterland, along with media sources gleaned primarily from the newspaper Molot [Hammer] published in Rostov by the district and city Bolshevik Party Committees, as well as the city administration, and the central newspapers (Pravda and Izvestiia).8

4Originally from Odessa, the Ginsburg family moved to the city of Rostov before the First World War. During the period under review, almost the entire family continued to live in Rostov or fled it to neighboring areas. The only exception was Efim Ginsburg (18971973), to whom almost every letter in this collection was addressed. In July 1941, he was evacuated from Moscow to Omsk and then, to Alma Ata. In 1941, the Rostov branch of the Ginsburg family numbered ten people and was made up of three generations. The adults occupied middlelevel positions in a local industry and service. The main correspondents were the sisters Anna Greener and Liza Chazkewitz (both born in 1893), as well as their niece, Tamara Meerovich (born in 1913). Only one family member, Vladimir Meerovich, was a member of the Party. Almost the entire family perished during the second German occupation of the North Caucasus in the second half of 1942. The exceptions were Vladimir Meerovich, who enlisted in the army in April 1942 and was killed in action apparently in AprilMay 1943, and Efim Ginsburg, who survived the war in the Soviet hinterland.

General background

  • 9 David Brandenberger, Propaganda State in Crisis : Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under (...)
  • 10 E.g., Brandenberger, Propaganda State in Crisis. On specifically Jewish attitudes towards Soviet me (...)

5As Soviet archives became more accessible after the dismantlement of the USSR, several important studies appeared analyzing the functioning of Soviet propaganda in the years leading up to the German invasion .9 However, there is as yet little research on the impact of newspapers and other propaganda forms on the attitudes of Soviet people before the SovietGerman war.10

6Confronted with the German invasion on June 22, 1941, Soviet Jews had three basic options at their disposal. Some were eager to fight against Germans, and in practice this almost always meant joining the retreating Red Army. Many Jews could not make up their minds what to do and decided not to decide anything. Some of them waited for the Germans, hoping that the rumors on German mistreatment of Jews would prove groundless. Others anticipated that the storm would somehow pass over them, i. e. the Red Army would repel the German attack. Finally, masses of Jews opted to flee the approaching German armies.

  • 11 Yad Vashem Archives (henceforth – YVA) : JM/24678. On the general aspects of evacuation, see Rebecc (...)
  • 12 E.g., Albert Kaganovich, “Jewish Refugees and Soviet Authorities during World War II,” Yad Vashem S (...)

7The process of escape or evacuation for Soviet Jews, alongside other Soviet people, looked as follows. Because, according to Soviet government directives, the evacuation of civilians dovetailed with their significance to the country’s war effort and the survival of the Soviet regime, a priority was placed on (1) safeguarding the lives of functionaries affiliated with the regime and their families and (2) moving agricultural and industrial facilities, together with the workers employed in them.11 The government did not prioritize Jewish evacuation outside these categories, i. e. it did not order their removal, nor did it inform Jews that they had been singled out by the Germans for particularly cruel treatment. Yet Jews were often given a chance to escape in an organized manner.12 To do so, they had to obtain evacuation authorization, contingent on the issuance of clearance by their employers. To leave one’s working place without a permit and to flee on one’s own was considered a serious crime, especially given the conditions of war. The government regulations held water as long as the Soviet system functioned properly, but once the Germans approached, it began to crack and an uncontrollable flight of civilians began.

The North Caucasus and Rostov at war and the Holocaust in 1941

  • 13 Joel Hayward, “Too Little, Too Late : An Analysis of Hitler’s Failure in August 1942 to Damage Sovi (...)
  • 14 On the Battle of the Caucasus in 1941, see Joachim Hoffmann, Kaukasien, 1942‑1943 : Das deutsche He (...)
  • 15 On the evacuation of Jews to and from the North Caucasus, see e.g., Kiril Feferman. “A Soviet Human (...)

8The Caucasus possessed a unique strategic value in the SovietGerman war. Nazi Germany needed Caucasian oil to continue putting into motion its war machine.13 During the first period of the SovietGerman war (June 22 late July), the North Caucasus remained far away from the main theaters of operation.14 The region even emerged as an important evacuation destination in summer – autumn 1941.15 Except for conscription, Rostov was largely spared from the horrors of the war. Thousands of people, including many Jews, fled through the region, while some of them stayed there.

  • 16 Befehl Hitlers (OKW/WFSt/Abt. L, Nr. 441412/41 g.Kdos.Chefs.), 21.8.1941, in : KTB/OKW (Kriegstageb (...)
  • 17 On October 1, 1941, a local agency, in charge of evacuation in Krasnodar Territory, stated in its i (...)
  • 18 As of 1939, there were 33,024 Jews registered in the Rostov District. Mordechai Altshuler, Soviet J (...)
  • 19 Evgeni Movshovich, “11 avgusta – 60 let tragedii v Zmievskoi balke [August 11 – 60 years since the (...)
  • 20 Evgeni Movshovich, “Rostov‑na‑Donu,” Entsyklopediia Kholokosta na territorii SSSR [The Encyclopedia (...)

9The second period began with Hitler ordering Army Group Center to strike into Ukraine before resuming the drive on Moscow.16 Great numbers of evacuees and refugees, including thousands of Jews, flocked through the North Caucasus eastwards.17 This flight affected the behavior of North Caucasian Jews, including those living in the Rostov district.18 The evacuation of civilians from the Rostov region, intensified in SeptemberOctober 1941, leading to the organized removal of 100,000150,000 civilians, alongside 50,000100,000 people who fled the region on their own. Among the organized evacuees, there were 7,00010,000 Jews,19 and a similar number of Jews fled independently.20

10German airstrikes of Rostov commenced from early August. The German land armies began their advance towards the North Caucasus starting from the beginning of September 1941. By late October, they occupied part of the Rostov district around the city of Taganrog and two weeks later, its entire Jewish population numbering some 1,800 people was shot by Sonderkommando 10a (part of the Einsatzgruppe D).

  • 21 Movshovich, “Rostov‑na‑Donu,” 867. See also Iaakov Krut, Povest´ o podarennoi zhizni [Novel on the (...)

11The Wehrmacht entered Rostov on November 21, 1941. The German occupation of Rostov lasted only one week and was badly documented. Nevertheless, it is evident that the city’s Jews were immediately required to register and, according to some sources, to bear sixpointed stars. On November 22, the German authorities ordered the establishment of a Jewish council. Failure to comply with these orders was made punishable by death.21

  • 22 GARO (Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rostovskoi oblasti – State Archive of the Rostov District)), 32/11302/ (...)
  • 23 Testimony of Klara Sheglova (1931). September 6, 1997. YVA : O.93/35826. See also Krut, Povest´ o p (...)

12However, it appears that these orders were largely ignored by Rostov Jews because they, like the rest of the population, spent this week in shelters. The city was heavily shelled by Soviet artillery poised very close to Rostov. For their part, the Germans refrained from moving around the city and enforcing the order. The Germans murdered dozens or even hundreds of captured Jewish Red Army soldiers and local civilians, including Jews,22 sometimes as retaliation for a murder of German military personnel in the city.23 The Wehrmacht retreated from Rostov on November 28 as a result of the Red Army counteroffensive but remained in control of a part of the Rostov district near Taganrog. The front line in this sector of the war stabilized until the summer of 1942.

13The German policies towards Jews during the week of the occupation conveyed an ambiguous message to local Jews. The Germans killed only a fraction of Rostov Jews, and their intentions remained unknown to the remaining ones. Furthermore, German administration in the occupied city conducted an ‘iron fist’ policy towards all Rostov inhabitants. As a result, after the first German occupation, many of Rostov’s Jew remained confused about what to do. Some Jewish survivors fled eastwards. Others concluded that the Germans would confine themselves to discrimination and hence, there was no need to evacuate, suffer from privations along the road and risk losing property. Significant for many Jews was the Red Army’s ability to quickly recapture Rostov, which testified, so assumed many Jews, to its willingness and ability to hold on to the city at any cost.

The first period (June 22 – July 31, 1941)

  • 24 Krasnodar, Stavropol. Beliaev and Bondar´, eds., Kuban´ v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny, 25‑26. (...)
  • 25 L. Vaisman, “Vtoroi den´ prizyva. V Rostove [Rostov. The Second Day of the Draft]”, Molot, N° 147, (...)
  • 26 Molot, N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4.

14The war began on June 22 and on the same day, general conscription was proclaimed in the North Caucasian military district.24 Three days later, the Rostov newspaper Molot reported how smoothly the draft decree was carried out in the city.25 The frontline was far away but four days after the outbreak of the war, on June 26, 1941, the Soviet military command in Rostov issued its initial, smallscale limitations on the free movement of the urban population. These measures were made public when Molot published “Order No 3 of the Commander of RostovonDon’s antiaircraft defenses on limiting the movement of vehicles without special permits at night.”26

  • 27 Molot, N° 149, 6028 (June 27) : 4. See also “V oblastnom upravlenii militsii [In the District Polic (...)

15On the next day, the Rostov newspaper published a small note on the last page: “For violations of blackout regulations, a person is sentenced to five years imprisonment by the decree of the Military tribunal of the North Caucasian Military District.”27 The warning served to indicate that Soviet military command in Rostov seriously considered the threat that the city might come under a German air attack.

  • 28 Aleksandr Malyshev, Sredstva massovoi informatsii Yuga Rossii v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny : (...)
  • 29 Inna Somova, Kul´turnye i religioznye uchrezhdeniia Stavropol´skogo kraia v period Velikoi Otechest (...)

16On June 25, the Soviet government issued a ban on keeping radio sets at home. This was done in order to prevent Soviet citizens from listening to German propaganda broadcasts. Although not announced publicly, the decree was immediately applied in the Rostov district and individual radio sets were requisitioned.28 Radio continued to supply essentially the same information about the advance of German armies as newspapers. Yet Holocaustrelated information was hardly made available to Caucasian Jews in 194142 by means of radio.29

  • 30 Olga Gershenson, The Phantom Holocaust : Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (New Brunswick : Rutg (...)
  • 31 Molot, N° 147, 6026 (June 25) : 4 ; N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4 ; N° 150, 6029 (June 28, 1941) : 4 ; (...)

17In the first days of the war, one could witness a turnabout in the Soviet propaganda approach towards presenting Nazi antiJewish policies. It had been already noticeable in a prewar Soviet feature film, Professor Mamlock (Lenfil´m), that featured Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany. Released on November 7, 1938, Professor Mamlock was screened in the first half of 1939 but suppressed following the SovietGerman NonAggression Pact in August 1939.30 In Rostov, Professor Mamlock was advertised in the press as an “antiFascist movie” and screened in the city’s most important theater only three days after the outbreak of the war.31

18On June 26, Molot published a report on German persecution of Jews in the entire Germanheld part of Poland:

  • 32 S. Borisov, “Pod piatoi germanskogo fashizma [Under the Feet of the German Fascism],” Molot, N° 148 (...)

In the GeneralGovernment, Jews and Poles receive lower rations than Germans. In the areas annexed to the Reich, up to 1.5 million Jews and Poles were evicted from their homes and their property entirely confiscated. The Jewish population is actually placed beyond the law and driven into ghettos; in cities they are fenced off by barbed wire. Jews above the age of ten are obligated to wear a large yellow or green star. Jews are forbidden to use public tramways. Every Jew has to work two years without pay in a labor camp. In Dombrow, a synagogue full of praying Jews was set ablaze.32

  • 33 “Rezhim terrora v Serbii [Terror Regime in Serbia],” Molot, N° 149, 6028 (June 27) : 4. See also N° (...)

19Such publications should be seen against the background of a mounting Soviet antiNazi propaganda attack. The article also served as the first important signal for the Soviet Jewish population in Rostov warning it about what could await under German rule, including first references to physical annihilations.33

20This relative abundance of reports on the fate of the Jews under German rule, on the one hand, and silence on the Wehrmacht advance into the Soviet territory, on the other, constitutes the setting for the appearance of the first letter we have written by the members of the Ginsburg family. On July 3, Liza Chazkewitz wrote to her brother, Efim Ginsburg:

  • 34 From Liza and Boris Chazkewitz, July 3, YVA : O.75/324, p. 27.

Our only hope and desire is that the accursed enemy who shattered the peace of the whole people of our Soviet Union (especially of the Jews) will be smashed as soon as possible. We believe firmly that the enemy will be destroyed, and victory will be ours.34

21To be sure, Liza extensively employed Soviet propaganda clichés, like “shattered peace” and “the enemy will be destroyed and the victory will be ours”. Generally speaking, her letter looks like a typical Soviet newspaper clipping, which evidently points to her being profoundly affected by Soviet propaganda, including print media. Yet at the same time, her emphasis on Jews as being singled out in this war, glossed over in Soviet propaganda, is curious. Liza provided no explanation for her remark, as it appeared to be evident to both her and her addressee even in this very early stage of the war.

  • 35 On this subject, see Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind : Writing a Diary under Stalin (Cambrid (...)
  • 36 Information on the order of receipt and delivery of postal and telegraph correspondence during the (...)

22This family correspondence was not a diary intended for a home use.35 As it was sent via the post, it could be read by Soviet censors. Soviet censors intercepted the private letters of Soviet citizens even before the war erupted, and there is little doubt that Soviet people were well aware of this. The situation changed, however, after the outbreak of the hostilities when the Soviet government deemed it fit to publicly admit the existence of censorship.36

23On July 23, Liza wrote another letter to her brother, Efim, who was evacuated in July 1941 from Moscow to the city of Omsk in Siberia:

  • 37 From Liza Chazkewitz to Efim Ginsburg, July 23, YVA : O.75/324, p. 29.

[…] We are all alive and in good health. It is still all quiet with us.
Our dear! Don’t regret that you got there. We assume that it will be better there, we feel confident about you there and wouldn’t mind being next to you. But it is difficult and even impossible. It is highly desirable that the confounded Fascism will truly fail very soon so that we’ll again be close to each other
37

24A change in Liza’s mood was discernible here. At this point, she was not against leaving Rostov in principle, but could not do so for practical considerations. Her confidence in an imminent Soviet victory and the ensuing defeat of Germans is not as strong as in her previous letter; now it is “highly desirable,” while the entire situation in Rostov is described as only “still quiet.”

  • 38 Idem, July 27, p. 31.

25These motifs were also implied in the letter written by Liza on July 27: “[…] We should hope that the enemy will be entirely smashed soon.”38

The second period (August 1 – November 29, 1941)

  • 39 Molot, N° 179, 6058 (August, 1) : 4.

26Despite the German advance on all the fronts, Soviet media went out of their way to create the impression that the situation remained under control. One example of this approach is an announcement in the Rostov newspaper, on August 1, informing readers that a new academic year had begun at Rostov’s institutions of higher education.39

  • 40 From Liza Chazkewitz, August 7, YVA : O.75/324, p. 33.

27On August 7, Liza sent a new letter to her brother Efim in Omsk echoing the quiet mood of the Soviet press and seemingly unrelated stories about the bitter fate of foreign Jews: “I hasten to report to you that we are all in good health; it is still all right here […] Mania is also all right; the children are fine; everyone is working.”40

28For the time being, everything seemed to be quiet. But apparently because of Liza’s fear of Soviet censorship or in order not to sadden her brother, she said nothing about the first German bombardments of Rostov, which began in early August. The word “still” is the only sign that may indicate growing anxiety among the Rostov Ginsburgs.

  • 41 Molot, N° 188, 6067 (August, 12) : 2. See also “Izdevatel´svto liudoedov [Cannibals’ Maltreatment], (...)
  • 42 Molot, N° 188, 6067 (August, 12) : 4.
  • 43 “Prodavtsy slonovoi kosti [Ivory Sellers],” Molot, N° 200, 6079 (August, 26) : 4.

29Of special interest is the way the Rostov newspaper dealt with German bombardments of the city. On August 12, it reported that German airplanes had conducted airraids on Moscow causing destruction and casualties. Yet nothing was said about the bombardments of Rostov.41 The two only hints of them could be found in an article about a largescale drill on extinguishing incendiary bombs conducted in Rostov42 that appeared in the very same issue of the newspaper and in a small satirical article published on August 26. The article urged the population not to exaggerate the dimensions of bombardments: “People are making a mountain out of a molehill.”43

30More information on German policies towards Jews appeared in Molot on August 15:

  • 44 A. Tarasov, “Prezrennye palachi i ubiitsy [Despicable Hangmen and Murderers].” Molot, N° 191, 6070 (...)

In locality G., Hitler’s bandits placed forty Jews, men and women in a square and shot all of them down. The hangmen locked ninety elderly persons and children in a barn and set out to shoot them with an automatic rifle.44

31This was the first time that the physical destruction of Jews in the occupied Soviet territories was reported by the Rostov newspaper.

32At the very end of August, we see more cracks between the official Soviet propaganda line and the way it was perceived by the Ginsburg family in another letter from Liza to Efim:

  • 45 From Liza Chazkewitz, August 31, YVA : O.75/324, p. 37.

We are very anxious and concerned. Yesterday evening we sat in a shelter for three hours, it was already the third time, how […] dreadful it is when an airraid alarm begins. We don’t know what is going to happen to us. […] If we had had wings, we should have flown to you because we think that it is quiet in your place […] That’s all for the time being. It doesn’t look good, but let’s hope that it will be good, one can’t lose hope.45

33There is no reference in the letter to human losses or material damage, of which the Ginsburgs, as ordinary inhabitants of Rostov, were likely unaware. This could be still explained by their continuous fear of the Soviet censorship. Yet something new is happening. Fear of German bombardments fraught with mortal danger led the Rostov Ginsburgs to partly depart from strictly keeping to the official Soviet line. Obviously they reassess the situation as grave.

  • 46 See e. g., Neil Gregor, “A Schicksalsgemeinschaft ? Allied Bombing, Civilian Morale, and Social Dis (...)

34But we should ask ourselves the most important question for our story. How did the family interpret these bombings? Did they realize that the Germans were now closer?46 The Ginsburgs’ initial reaction to the bombardments, as expressed in this letter, seems to signal their having “frozen” or a lack of any decision on their part.

  • 47 Testimony of L. Shabalina, in Smirnov, Rostov pod ten´iu svastiki, 43.

35In addition to airraids, a new factor emerged in Rostov in the course of August 1941: many old people and youngsters were sent to dig antitank trenches.47 From this the Ginsburgs could infer that the German land advance to Rostov was a possibility to be reckoned with. It is against this background that the following letter written by Liza on September 7, 1941 should be read:

  • 48 From Liza Chazkewitz, September 7, YVA : O.75/324, p. 38‑39.

What really matters is that the barbarous enemy be smashed soon. It will be the best thing for everyone!!! From September 1, it is quiet here, but it is not quiet at heart; we are alarmed and live in a state of anxiety. Nonetheless, we don’t lose hope and wait for good news [expecting] to see each other again […] Well, my dear, that’s all for the time being. Let’s wait and hope and we’ll be spared. […] We […] wish you all the best, hoping for a joyful meeting after the victory.48

36It is not easy to establish whether when they wrote about the defeat of the Germans, the Rostov branch of the Ginsburg family was still prone to Soviet propaganda messages compounded with their fear of censorship and/or if they really believed in defeat. My feeling is that since these strong phrases about defeat were put at the beginning and at the end of the letter, apparently out of context with the rest of the text, they largely served to placate Soviet censors.

37The September 7 letter reflects growing anxiety and uncertainty to the extent that, for the first time, the Ginsburgs did not rule out the possibility of escape, albeit as a theoretical option for the time being. Still, at this stage, fear of a long journey to uncertainty clearly outweighed their fear of the Germans, and they were evidently reluctant to take practical steps in this direction.

38Ten days later, on September 17, Liza wrote a new letter to Efim:

  • 49 From Liza Chazkewitz, September 17, YVA : O.75/324, p. 41.

It is still all right here; let’s hope this will go on like that further […] Our mood is somehow far from being all right (ne akhti). It is not quiet at heart. But let’s wait and hope to receive only good news.49

  • 50 Soiuzkinozhurnal, N° 91, September 18 ; RSACPD : Record 5361. Available at : http://pobeda‑vov.ru/L (...)

39Rostov’s Ginsburgs feel more and more anxious, as the situation in the Soviet south appeared to be worsening. Still, they did not know how close the Germans were and could not assess the gravity of the problem. Official Soviet sources pointed to fighting far away from Rostov: a newsreel (N° 91) released on September 18 and shown all over the Soviet Union, including Rostov, described Soviet preparations to defend Odessa.50

  • 51 Molot, N° 227, 6106 (September 26) : 1.

40However, as the Red Army failed to check the advance of the Wehrmacht towards the Caucasus, even official Soviet propaganda had to address the aggravating situation at the front, albeit in a veiled fashion. On September 26, 1941, the Rostov newspaper published on its first page a large article “The German Fascists will not tread on the Don steppe!” about a gettogether of former partisans and participants of the Civil War at Razdorskaia stanitsa.51 This was the first signal in a local Rostov media source indicating the growing danger of the German thrust on the city.

41Growing anxiety was manifest in the sisters’ letter written the next day, October 3:

  • 52 From Anna Greener, October 3, YVA : O.75/324, p. 58.

Right now, we are not considering relocating anywhere because, for the time being, the question is not yet so acute for us. Let’s hope that we won’t need to go anywhere. In any case, we don’t even think about going to you since it is so far. If need be, we’d better go not too far. Don’t think about sending us money and selling anything. It won’t help anything.52

42Here we detect a noticeable change in the Ginsburgs’ mood. As the situation appears to have been gradually deteriorating, the Rostov branch of the Ginsburg family is ready for the first time to weigh the possibility of evacuation as a practical solution, but only if it means not traveling too far. Emotional phrases such as “it won’t help anything” depicted a growing panic among the Rostov Ginsburgs and pointed to an increasing discrepancy between their sentiments and the official propaganda line.

43The next letter was sent from Rostov on October 6, 1941:

  • 53 From Liza Chazkewitz, October 6, YVA : O.75/324, p. 52.

We are not considering any trip now because it is entirely impossible. We shall wait. For the time being, there is no mass evacuation and hopefully there probably won’t be one. Hitler won’t get us. It is hard to travel because of the children; our health is not good; there are no men, the only one is Volodia, and he cannot do it. So we have to stay here and hope that everything will be all right. That’s all for now; it is difficult to say what lies ahead.53

44The letter reveals the Ginsburgs’ continuous reluctance to move, which comes of course as no surprise. They have plenty of good reasons not to go anywhere. What is more surprising is their apparent passivity and probably even some signs of resignation to their fate : “We shall wait…” This mood apparently runs counter to the ever‑optimistic spirit voiced by the Soviet propaganda. The family certainly wants to believe in what was written in the newspapers about the firm Soviet resistance. Yet when juxtaposing this with the facts on the ground, they began to have serious doubts about whether the Red Army was capable of checking the German advance.

  • 54 Molot, N° 241, 6120 (October, 12) : 1. See also “Barrikady [Barricades]”. Molot, N° 244, 6123 (Octo (...)

45The German armies approached closer to Rostov itself, and by now the Soviet press could not keep silent any longer. On October 12, 1941, Molot published a passionate appeal to the city’s population on its first page “To Turn Rostov into a Defense Fortress! To Rise as One Man to Defend Our City!” The article mentioned “hordes of German Fascists” and measures to be taken to cope with the danger. The appeal was signed by the Commander of the North Caucasian Military District, Fedor Remezov, and the Secretary of the Rostov municipal committee of the VKP(b), Boris Dvinski.54

  • 55 Molot, N° 243, 6122 (October, 14) : 2.

46An influx of organized evacuees and refugees fled from the advancing German armies and found themselves in the North Caucasus, causing panic among local authorities. On October 14, 1941, Molot wrote: “The Fascists dispatch their agents, whose task is to spread panic in the midst of the population by circulating various provocative rumors.”55 How can we interpret this report, and how is it related to our narrative? There were many evacuees and refugees, among them very many Jews in the city. The odds are high that the information they possessed could be shared with local Jews and thus, prompt them to leave. At the same time, the eversuspicious Soviet authorities tried to do their best to prevent the flow of this information and, in all likelihood, succeeded in doing so to some extent.

47The rapidly deteriorating situation made itself felt in the next letter composed by sisters Anna and Liza, sent from Rostov on October 26, 1941. The letter described dramatic family events:

  • 56 From Anna Greener, October 26, YVA : O.75/324, p. 59‑62.

I inform you that Anna and I stayed in Rostov. Our beloved Mania, Tamara, Tsilia, and the small children were evacuated on October 13 to Budionnovsk (Ordzhonikidze territory). Volodia was unable to get evacuation permits for us. That’s why we remained. We were very anxious before we got a message from them saying they were all alive and in good health and arrived there all right. But Tamara describes their terrible living conditions; it is better to die at home. We don’t know any longer what to do, either to go to them and to suffer with them or to anticipate the end of our lives here[…]
We wish strongly that we were together with you in Alma Ata, because it is there where one feels quiet and safe. But apparently it is absolutely impossible! Now we are all already dispersed and hardly know if we’ll see each other again! If we’ll see each other at all!!! How difficult it is to endure and to suffer all this. But of course, one should not lose one’s temper; let’s hope that we all shall be alive and see one another again, God willing.
56

48The family’s response reflected the contradictory messages emanating from Soviet media and the Ginsburgs’ distrust of them. As we have seen, the propaganda encouraged people to stay by claiming that the situation was under control and the authorities would defend Rostov at any cost. At the same time, panic brought by refugees and incessant German airstrikes, which passed unnoticed by the propaganda, indicated that the Germans were near. By the same token, the media claimed Jews were targeted by the Germans for mistreatment, but it was not clear to what extent. On the whole, protracted underreporting or even nonreporting in the media acted to considerably undermine their credibility.

49As a result, the family split. The older generation decided not to decide. Of course, the older ones appeared to have a solid reason not to move away: they did not get evacuation permits. But as we know from many other sources, at this time it was possible to escape on one’s own, without a permit. At least, one could try. Instead, they preferred to stay and to wait; actually, they seem to have chosen to succumb to the inevitable. They did not know exactly what would happen, but the letter was full of macabre foreboding: “the most horrible things are yet to come;” “it is hardly possible that we will see each other again;” and others. At the same time, the older Ginsburgs tried not to fall into despair by indicating that their evacuated relatives might have made a mistake when they moved away: “[I]t is better to die at home.” But they were now in a panic: dreaming about joining their brother in Alma Ata, asking him for good advice, but not knowing what to do.

50Sisters Anna and Liza, who stayed in Rostov, continued to keep their brother abreast of the situation. On October 30, 1941, they wrote:

  • 57 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, October 30, YVA : O.75/324, p. 63‑66 and November 3, YVA : O (...)

Now, after their letter, our dear, we (Anna and me) don’t know what to do, whether we must stay here or go to them. There is no rescue there, either, and then, where else can we go? In particular, given our financial resources. So we don’t know ourselves what to do and whether we should make up our minds to perish. Maybe, you, our dear one, will give us advice on what to do and how to behave, if we have enough time to get your letter? […]
That’s all for the time being. We are all dispersed, and God knows when we shall see each other, if at all. It is bitter and hard—what have we come to? And what shall we come to? It is dreadful even to think about it. Take care and be happy. I hope you will get this letter at least.
57

51The Rostov branch of the family was not sure whether their decision to stay was right. Still, the contents of this letter suggest that those family members who evacuated to Budionnovsk had not evacuated sufficiently far away. In other words, Anna and Liza Ginsburg assumed that if the Germans could invade Rostov, they could also invade Budionnovsk. Let us also note that at this stage, nowhere in the correspondence is it explicitly mentioned why there was a need to escape from the Germans. The unarticulated danger seems to have been clear to everyone among the correspondents. Overall, it appears that both prospects looked equally awful to the eyes of both branches of the Ginsburg family. In other words, Anna and Liza, hitherto the main respondents in this correspondence, appeared to internalize the idea that the Jews would be mistreated under German rule, which reflected to no small extent the messages conveyed by Soviet propaganda. Yet it was also a result of the family’s own thoughts. At the same time, the sisters were deeply pessimistic about the prospects of the Soviets checking the German advance in the Caucasus, and this pessimism ran counter to the official Soviet line.

52On November 18, 1941, Liza and Anna sent their last letter before the German occupation of Rostov:

  • 58 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, November 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 70.

I am writing to you to tell that we all are alive and in good health. […] We remained here, now we do not know what to do, whether to go to them and to suffer with them or to wait for death to come here? We are very anxious about you, our dear one; and you are worried about us even more. We do not know anything about [what is happening to one] another, and have received no messages whatsoever; it is really painful. We want everything to go welland in peace, so that they will be able to return to Rostov, to their home, to us. And not the other way about, that we would have to go to them. They are suffering tremendously there and are deprived of everything.58

53The letter was written at a critical moment, only three days before Rostov was overtaken by the German armies. However, the letter shows how little information on the actual state of affairs around Rostov was available to the Ginsburg sisters. Three days prior to the German occupation, they still contemplated the possibility of their fleeing to the east, a route that was doubtless no longer feasible.

54Still, it is evident that there was something particularly gloomy in the air, which left its imprint on the contents of the letter. The sweeping fear of Germans that paralyzed Anna and Liza was getting stronger and stronger. There appeared to be no chance to flee the advancing Wehrmacht: sooner or later they would conquer everywhere and would catch everyone.

55On the very same day, November 18, 1941, another letter was sent to Efim Ginsburg from his relatives. This time, it was Tamara Meerovich from Budyonnovsk:

  • 59 From Tamara Meerovich, November 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 72‑77.

We left Rostov by train on October 13. We did an unforgivably foolish thing. On October 9, after Mariupol was seized, a terrible panic spread in Rostov, everyone started to run. This mass flight had a strong impact on everyone’s state of mind—you could not help but get caught up in it. Most important, the future does not bode well but [only promises] horrors. We made several decisions in the course of one day: a few times we [decided to] evacuate; at times we decided that it is better to die on the spot than along the road, in a foreign land. But frequent bombardments and the approach of the front line unsettled us completely.
With great difficulty, through the District Executive Council […] Volodia succeeded in procuring evacuation permits for us, but only for five persons. Therefore, only I, Tsylia, [my] mother and children left. […] How envious we are of them that they remained at home and did not experience the hardships of evacuation. […] Of course, their life is not easy, either, but they are still at home in the warmth and, most importantly, wherever we are, apparently the same thing awaits all of us. […]
Volodia’s letters from October 25 reassured us; he wrote that the enemy was repelled beyond Taganrog and that there is no need for us to fall into despair, that as soon as the situation improves he will arrive and take us [away]. Yet his last letter, dated November 12, upset us considerably since he wrote that the enemy was again at the gates of Rostov, which was subjected to almost daily air raids. […] All the time we write home, so, if need be, Aunt Anna and [Aunt] Liza could make their way to us, and then all of us would leave, in whatever direction. But generally speaking, the situation is terrible. ….
59

56Tamara’s point of view was different from that of sisters Anna and Liza; she viewed the situation as a refugee. The Ginsburg sisters had been born in the nineteenth century and raised to no small extent in Tsarist Russia. In contrast, Tamara Meerovich was only twentyeight in 1941 and thus, reared mainly during the Soviet period. It is to be expected that the older Anna and Liza would be more broadminded in their appraisals while Tamara would be more affected by her exclusively Soviet upbringing. We shall see soon whether these assumptions materialize.

57Now we have the opportunity to compare information supplied by Tamara with what the Ginsburg sisters wrote. The result is obvious: assuming that the entire family was exposed to the same propaganda messages while they were in Rostov, Anna and Liza refrained from putting all of it on paper. We see, for example, that they did not write anything about how the German seizure of the city of Mariupol affected the mood of Rostov’s population, most specifically within their own family. Why were the sisters so cautious? The explanation seems to involve several factors: first, fear of Soviet censors with all they entailed; second, the sisters’ desire not to upset their brother. To compensate, Anna and Liza augmented the lack of factual information with emotions.

58The letter also shows the extent of the chaos that reigned in the North Caucasus at that time with respect to evacuation. Not only were the refugees not brought far enough from the frontlines, and not only did they have to provide for themselves along the road and in their temporary residences; they often attempted to get closer to rescue routes, violating government regulations. This last point is particularly meaningful since their willingness to violate Soviet rules indicates that these partly evacuated Jews regarded the Nazi threat as more dangerous than noncompliance with Soviet orders.

59Overall, Tamara viewed her evacuation, at least at this stage, as “an unforgivably foolish thing,” that is as a mistake. The inventory of considerations in favor of evacuation and against it included German airstrikes, comfortable living conditions, heating, and food provision, i. e. all those aspects that Tamara could become aware of from her own experience. The dimensions of the German threat to her family as Jews, i. e. the information that could be to no small extent obtained via Soviet media, obviously remained unclear to Tamara, as this factor was absent from her balance sheet.

60Tamara’s assessment of the military situation differs drastically from the optimistic assurances of Soviet media and is summarized in the phrase “wherever we are, apparently the same thing awaits all of us.” Furthermore, it is possible that she points here not only to a possible German seizure of the North Caucasus but to the overall outcome of the SovietGerman war. Tamara’s pessimism may be explained by her intensive exposure to news about Nazi Germany’s advance and its treatment of Jews. This information might come from refugees with whom she fled from Rostov to seek safety in Budionnovsk.

The third period (November 30 – December 31, 1941)

  • 60 Zelenskaia, Kul´turno‑prosvetitel´nye uchrezhdeniia Dona i Kubani, 75.
  • 61 Na zashchite Rodiny. Partiinye organizatsii Dona v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine [In the Defense of (...)

61On November 30, slightly more than one day after the liberation of the city, Rostov’s Municipal Committee of Defense, called upon local civilians to return to work on December 260 and “to keep revolutionary order, to help the Red Army and authorities to catch and destroy fascist agents.”61 This announcement was the first indication to the local people of the restoration of stability to the city and was also the first official signal that there had been collaborators in Rostov.

  • 62 No earlier than November 30. Na zashite Rodiny, 99‑101.

62Approximately on November 30, the command of the Red Army published an account “On the German Atrocities in Rostov”.62 The report provided relatively full details about the German mistreatment of the local population. One case of mass murder of civilians was highlighted but here, as well as in other cases, nothing was said about the Jews being singled out for persecution.

  • 63 Evgeni Movshovich, Ocherki istorii evreev na Donu [Essays on the History of the Jews on Don] (Rosto (...)
  • 64 Molot, N° 285, 6163 (December 3) : 1. Source : “Nashi voiska presleduiut otstupaiushego vraga [Our (...)

63The Red Army regained control in the city but fell short of pushing the frontline more than fifty km from Rostov. Consequently, the Soviet authorities faced the problem of how to contain the population within the beleaguered city. Their approach combined limitations on leaving Rostov (issued in all probability, in early December)63 and propaganda aimed at portraying the city as a safe and stable locale, with an emphasis on the frontline being pushed far away from the immediate vicinity of the city64

64In its ongoing efforts to bolster the fighting spirit of its citizens, Soviet propaganda made a special effort to draw the attention of the local public to the suffering of both civilians and captured Red Army soldiers under German rule in occupied Rostov. On December 4, 1941, Molot published an important letter by inhabitants of Rostov “We Will Never Forget” sent to the “soldiers, commanders, and political workers of Ninth and FiftyEighth Armies” (active in the Southern sector):

  • 65 Molot, N° 286, 6164 (December 4) : 1.

[…] when you began to beat and destroy fascist hangmen, when fighting began on the streets of the city, we, without fear of death, went out and began to take revenge for those tortured and executed, for the blood of our children. Some women poured boiling water on the heads of the fascists; others killed them from behind a corner with axes, stones, rifles. Rostov’s pioneers were also actively involved in exterminating the fascist beasts. They threw Molotov cocktails and stones at them. […] Piled on the streets, in houses and cellars are crippled corpses of captured Red Army soldiers, professors, women and children. In Nakhichevan there are the corpses of fiftytwo old men, women, and children shot down because a German soldier was killed by someone in the house where they lived. […] On Kirov Street near the Sel’mash plant, there are the corpses of ten executed Red Army soldiers. […] Both you and we have one thought, one irresistible desire: to destroy all German occupiers. Oh, we can safely say: the revenge will be terrible.65

  • 66 E.g., December 7. Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 2. See also Molot, N° 290, 6168 (December 8) : (...)

65The rationale behind such messages was clear.66 Stirring up feelings of vengefulness in both civilians and soldiers was a way to boost their morale. It is noteworthy that in line with their traditional Soviet policy, these messages did not stress that the Germans singled out the Jews for maltreatment.

66On December 7, Molot published an editorial article “To Quickly Liquidate the Consequences of German Rule in Rostov”:

Our troops have seized MatveevKurgan [situated on the Eastern coast of the Mius River, 94 km to the west of Rostov– KF]. A fierce battle is being waged on the outskirts of Taganrog. It won’t take long before the hordes of German fascists will be entirely ejected outside of the bounds of our district.

67This article provided readers with the name of a specific locality captured by the Soviet troops so that they could figure out how far away the Wehrmacht had been repelled from Rostov. But the article also claimed that the Red Army was at the outskirts of Taganrog, the second most important city in the Rostov district. This news definitely sounded very optimistic and was bound to boost the morale of Rostov’s populace.

  • 67 Molot, N° 291, 6169.
  • 68 E.g., Ezra Vilenski, “V osvobozhdennom Rostove [In Liberated Rostov],” Izvestiia N° 284, 7660 (Dece (...)

68On December 9, Molot informed its readers that in the last day of the German occupation, three hundred Jews had been shot in one of the city’s neighborhoods, Nakhichevan.67 Coupled with other news on persecutions against the city’s Jews,68 this information, available only to Anna and Liza Ginsburg, was bound to have a strong impact on them, urging them to get out of Rostov as soon as possible.

69On December 10, 1941, the Ginsburg sisters wrote their first letter after the liberation of Rostov:

  • 69 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 10, YVA : O.75/324, p. 79.

We are still alive and in good health, but as for the future, it is difficult to say what awaits us. We endured a lot: God grant you never know [the details]. But if it recurs, then it will be all over with us. But we want to believe that maybe it will not be repeated, and these barbarians will not have any chance here.
For the time being, evacuation permits are not being issued, but as soon as they are given, we shall abandon everything and go away, because one cannot sell anything now (since the consignment shop does not accept goods). But we may go with what we can take with us. When you wrote that it was better to die at home, you would have done better to write that we should have moved away immediately. It would have been better; we would have arrived, but now it looks like we won’t succeed in leaving.
69

70The sisters carefully avoided putting on paper whatever had happened to them during the German occupation. From what they did write, it seems that they definitely suffered a great deal, but it is difficult to say whether they were specially targeted as Jews or were merely persecuted as ordinary Rostov civilians. Still, judging by some of the more ominous remarks (for example, “if it recurs, then it will be all over with us”), they or other Jews close to them were mistreated as Jews. Clearly, they recognized that if the Germans were to return, Liza and Anna would be killed.

71The fear that the Germans instilled in the Ginsburg sisters sufficed to make them decide to flee at any cost. Evidently, at this moment they felt that their hope, albeit never explicitly articulated, to survive the storm under German rule, had been misplaced. Economic arguments and other troublesome issues (no man to accompany them, poor health, age, winter, etc.) remained, but were no longer a deciding factor. We will soon see whether this fear had a lasting effect.

72On December 11, Molot published the editorial article, “To Further Enhance Revolutionary Vigilance,” highlighting one of the critical messages that the local leadership was eager to convey to Rostov inhabitants:

  • 70 Molot, N° 293, 6171 (December 11) : 1. See also Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 1 ; P. Nikitin, (...)

It would be erroneous to fall into a state of complacency. We are well aware of the insidiousness and cunning of the German robbers. There is no doubt that they will attempt to disrupt the resumption of normal life in the city and to damage our cause. In the first days after the liberation of the city, the Military Command, the District Committee of the VKP(b), and the District Executive Committee issued an appeal to the inhabitants of Rostov: “Fascists may have left their people in the city in order to carry out diversions and murders. Keep utmost vigilance! Watch out for suspects and inform Soviet agencies (organy) about them. Even if only one fascist remaining in the city for his vile purposes is disclosed.” This directive should be implemented with all energy and resolve. Fascist spies may also penetrate villages and stanitsy, which are very close to Rostov […] We should know what people come […] in the villages, stanitsy; with particular care, we should guard enterprises, railway roads, bridges, roads […] We should close all holes and gaps, through which fascist saboteurs and spies could penetrate. Also, we should expose fascist hangerson and henchmen who under German rule behaved like traitors to the Fatherland, robbers and marauders […] Dogs should be meted out a dog’s death. No mercy for the traitors to the Fatherland, people who went over to the enemy, who helped fascists commit their vile deeds! […] Let us further enhance revolutionary vigilance.70

  • 71 E.g., Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 1, 2.

73Given the special circumstances in Rostov after its liberation, the publication of this and similar articles was most likely necessary.71 Yet it clearly brought local people back to the gloomy atmosphere of spyhunting that had reigned in the Soviet Union for many years, an atmosphere of paranoia that reached its climax in the late 1930s. Apart from making a depressing impression on the local people, such messages were no doubt bound to impede people like the Ginsburgs from even considering flight from this endangered region in an informal way, that is without the proper paperwork.

74How did Tsilia Pinchos (Anna’s daughter who had escaped together with Tamara Meerovich’s family) see the situation in recently liberated Rostov? On December 12, she wrote a letter to her uncle in Alma Ata:

  • 72 From Tsilia Pinchos, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 80‑83.

We are now very concerned, as we are waiting for a letter from our aunt to reassure us that she is alive and in good health after those terrible days that the damned Hitler was there. But we calmed down a little bit, after some people came here from Rostov and said that our neighborhood was not damaged. […] we anticipate that the confounded enemy will be smashed. It is because of him that we are experiencing all this, and we are confident that soon the enemy will be destroyed and all of us will return home and lie on our soft beds and most importantly, we’ll be together.72

75Tsilia proved to be well aware that Jews had not faced genocide during the first German occupation. This suggests, in turn, that she remained less affected by Soviet propaganda reports on the German atrocities in Rostov. Furthermore, the only reason she gives for why her aunts could have been killed during that week was if “our neighborhood was […] damaged.” This elliptical expression conceals the unpalatable fact that Rostov was bombarded during the German occupation, and since the Germans were in control of the city, it was evident that those who bombarded Rostov were the Soviets.

  • 73 E.g., Testimony of Anna Shagina‑Blokh, April 1965, YVA : 0.3/3146, p. 1.

76Yet, we should not overestimate Tsilia’s ability to soberly judge the situation. Like her aunts, Liza and Anna, she also viewed her situation too optimistically. Encouraged by Soviet reports that also influenced other Jewish evacuees who made their way back to Rostov (“the situation at the front improves every day”),73 Tamara assumed that the Germans would soon be vanquished.

77On December 12, Tamara sent a new letter from Budionnovsk:

  • 74 From Tamara Meerovich, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 84.

Despite all difficulties, we believe firmly in our imminent victory over these beasts and scoundrels who commit unheardof atrocities against people.74

78The expression “unheardof atrocities against people” employed by Tamara was coined by the Soviet propaganda. Its usage in the letter indicates that by that time, Tamara, similar to her aunts, either began to internalize Soviet propaganda phraseology or became too cautious fearing that her letter might be intercepted by Soviet censors. On the same day, Liza wrote from Rostov:

  • 75 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener to Tamara Meerovich, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 87.

I have already written to you that our people left, but Anna and I stayed; it was impossible to join them at that moment. Later, we decided that probably we would not [have to] leave at all. But now, as soon as the evacuation permits are issued, we will move away immediately, since we endured many horrors.75

79The sisters still refused to disclose exactly what happened to them during the last week of November 1941, and we can only try to guess what transpired. It is likely that they witnessed or at least, quickly learned about the Germans’ murder of Rostov’s civilians at Engels Street, close to their home, carried out in retaliation for the killing of a German officer. This made a very strong impression on them, and it is no wonder that regardless of reassuring messages conveyed by the Rostov newspaper, the sisters were adamant about the need to escape at the first opportunity.

80On December 13, Liza and Anna wrote another letter from Rostov. It began with a description of the truly difficult economic conditions that the evacuated branch of the family faced in Budionnovsk:

  • 76 Ibid., December 13, p. 88‑89.

Now they are deprived of the room and the fuel; their conditions deteriorated. They are thinking about leaving (I don’t know where to), despite the fact that they are not permitted to leave. I don’t know what will happen and in what way.
Now we also made up our minds to move away as soon as evacuation permits are given. Then, it might be possible for us go […] to Essentuki. God grant we would not need to leave, but rather our family would return to us soon […]
It is all about suffering, especially in winter. I’d like these German barbarians to be pushed away as far as possible and forever; bandits, robbers, murderers, let them be destroyed as soon as possible!
76

81The sisters stressed the apparently insurmountable difficulties confronting the refugees. Although Liza and Anna suggested that these problems might cause the evacuees to leave in future, at this stage, a return to Rostov still remained out of the question. Liza’s and Anna’s resolve to flee was weakened. Old motives, such as hardships suffered along the road, which had been critical in their decision not to evacuate before the German occupation of Rostov, made their way back to their argumentation. Their vacillation is manifest in the proposed destination of their evacuation, if the permits are given. If it were up to the sisters, at this point they would flee not as far as possible from the Germans, but only as far as Essentuki, a small resort city in the Stavropol territory situated 523 km to the east of Rostov. Also, as previously, Liza and Anna voiced their enthusiastic optimism, too reminiscent of official Soviet propaganda, for a Soviet victory. But the sisters’ tone was somewhat more realistic: they wished the Germans above all be pushed away from Rostov. This victory, given their change of mood favoring a more limited escape, reflected the messages of Soviet propaganda. The possibility of absolute victory was a far more remote event, not within reach.

  • 77 Molot, N° 299, 6177 (December 17) : 1.

82As the Red Army was not yet within reach of victory in the region, Rostov’s inhabitants were warned to prepare for a long period of uncertainty. The article “Germans Put Up Stubborn Resistance in the South,” published in Molot on December 18, claimed that “in spite of enormous losses, Fascist troops offer stiff resistance.”77 On the same day, Anna and Liza wrote to Efim:

  • 78 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 70.

Thank God, we also all are alive and in good health. So far we are in Rostov, and God grant that there will be no need to go anywhere, as we have not gone anywhere up to now […] Now our only wish is to see our dear [relatives] coming back soon, so that we will be all together, so that we should not need to go to them, because they lead a difficult life. We have endured a lot […]
We do not need money; don’t worry, everything will be fine; the enemy will certainly be smashed.
78

83Only five days had passed since the sisters’ previous letter, but the change in their mood is obvious. The letter begins with the sisters’ statement that “we are glad and happy to learn that you… are alive” as if it were Efim Ginsburg whose life was in danger. This was followed by a number of other passages, suffused with unusual references to God, which demonstrate to what extent Anna and Liza were out of touch with reality. Evidently as a result of their continuous exposure to Soviet propaganda claiming that the recapture of Rostov by the Red Army was only the beginning of a Soviet drive westwards, the sisters eventually changed their minds. In the case of Anna and Liza, these messages fell on eager ears.

  • 79 D. Iashenko, “Na ulitsakh Rostova [On Rostov’s Streets],” Molot, N° 300, 6178 (December 18) : 2.

84The article published in Molot on December 19, “On Rostov’s Streets,” gives us a glimpse into the way the city functioned in those days. The article described the construction of defensive establishments in the city itself. At the same time, the article also showed how peaceful life resumed: water pipes and the municipal library began to work again.79 Certainly, there was a degree of propaganda exaggeration in this description; yet this testimony may help us better understand the behavior of the Ginsburg sisters eager to stay in this city caught between war and peace because the situation appeared to be firmly under control now.

85On December 20, Liza and Anna wrote another letter to Efim:

  • 80 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 20, YVA : O.75/324, p. 94‑97.

We would be enormously happy and glad if we did not need to do it, if our relatives returned soon to Rostov to their places and beds because they are really suffering from all this. Nonetheless, we are not thinking about leaving, even for a while, since I want to believe that the confounded barbarians will never be able to return here. For the time being, there is no mass evacuation. I wish there would be none! So, we are waiting. Of course, we would like to see everyone together. But how can we arrange all this? I wish only that the damned enemy be destroyed as soon as possible, and then it will surely be over. No doubt it will happen.80

86This letter gives the impression that only two days after stating that they would not move away, the sisters again hesitated about whether to leave or not. This time, they envisaged a “local evacuation” not far away from Rostov, apparently to wait until the Red Army firmly secured the area around the city.

87An important article published on the second page of Molot, “Under Hitler’s Foot,” sheds light on the fate of the Jewish population in the city of Taganrog, situated only 67 km to the west of Rostov and occupied by the Wehrmacht since midOctober 1941. This report was presented in a form of personal account, written under the pseudonym Nikolai Kostantinovich P., most likely a Soviet agent, who spent two months, from October 17 to December 17, in the occupied city.

  • 81 Molot, N° 302, 6180 (December 20) : 2.

Soon after the takeover, the Hitlerites issued an order. All the Jews were required to bear yellow armbands with sixpointed stars, to go to School No. 27 and to take warm clothes and [enough] food for three days. Afterwards, people who did not suspect anything were marched to trenches near the instruments plant, their executors fell upon them, took their clothes away and killed them all, including elderly people and infants, by shooting them with machineguns.81

  • 82 On this topic, see e. g., Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the Soviet Mass Media during the War…,” 121‑ (...)

88Unusual in the Soviet press, this was an unequivocal acknowledgement82 that the Jews were being totally annihilated in the Germancontrolled Soviet territories. The fact that reference was made to events in a city in the Rostov district, situated very close to Rostov, was bound to profoundly impress newspaper readers, provided they believed what was published.

89One day later, on December 21, the sisters sent a new letter to Alma Ata.

  • 83 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener to Tsilia Pinkhos, December 21, YVA : O.75/324, p. 99.

All the time we think that as soon as the evacuation permits are given we will put everything aside and go to you or to Beba, although Beba is very unreliable in her behavior. She came here to take us and went without us. She lost the invitation for us.83

90From this letter we learn that it was only due to a technical problem (their acquaintance forgetting the necessary invitation) that Anna and Liza did not evacuate. If the sisters’ description of events was accurate, this is the first evidence that they were really ready to evacuate. Furthermore, for the first time, Anna and Liza discussed not only about a local escape but also a fullfledged flight to Central Asia.

91Molot continued calling upon the Rostov public to display vigilance and selfsacrifice in defensive works. On December 23, the newspaper’s first page featured a “Resolution of the plenary meeting of the [Rostov] District Committee of the VKP(b)”:

  • To accelerate as much as possible the pace of defensive works because [the city of] Rostov and the Rostov District are located in a battlefield zone […];

    • 84 Molot, N° 304, 6182 (December 20) : 1.

    To increase the pace of exposing revealing enemy henchmen, who proved to be antiSoviet elements [pokazavshikh svoe antisovetskoe litso] during the German occupation.84

92Such warning messages were bound to instill fear in the Ginsburgs and to lead them to flee the city once the opportunity to do so presented itself.

  • 85 V. Zolotarev, “V shkolakh goroda vozobnovliaiutsia zaniatiia [Studies Are Resuming in the City’s Sc (...)
  • 86 Ibid, p. 2.

93On December 29, Molot published more notes emphasizing Rostov’s return to normalcy: it reported about the resumption of studies in the city’s schools from January 1, 194285 and the staging of the first performance at the Rostov Puppet Theater on December 31. This theater, whose actors were recruited from other theaters, would stage, it was promised, in January 1942 a new performance, “Rostov speaking” (Govorit Rostov) on the struggle with the German Fascist occupiers.86

94On December 29, 1941, Tamara wrote to Efim Ginsburg on behalf of the entire evacuated part of the family:

  • 87 From Tsilia Pinkhos, December 29, YVA : O.75/324, p. 102‑103. The letter was signed by her sister T (...)

As of December 24, we are inhabitants of Ordzhonikidze. […] But as we hope not to stay here too long and to return home soon, we want to live in a normal apartment; after all, we suffered enough in Budionnovsk. […] When the Aisenshtarks left Rostov on December 13, Aunt Anna came to see them: they [the aunts] are in good health and seem to have decided not to go anywhere, as they hoped that everything would be all right. However, we wrote to urge them to leave, and then they must go to Beba in Essentuki, where they may find accommodation and employment.87

95Overall, with her mood being stirred up by Soviet victories wellpublicized by the Soviet propaganda machine, Tamara thought that her troubles were almost over and contemplated an eventual return to Rostov in the not too distant future.

96On December 31, Anna and Liza sent a New Year’s greeting from Rostov:

Dear Efim!

We congratulate you on the New Year. We are in good health.

  • 88 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 31, ibid, p. 105‑106.

Hugs and kisses, Anna and Liza.88

97Written only one month after their survival of the German occupation of Rostov, the letter attempts to convey the message that a return to a normal life, when people celebrate each other on various occasions, is within reach.

Conclusion

98After the outbreak of the SovietGerman war, Soviet media institutions continued to fulfill their major prewar role as a propaganda tool. The portrayal of German antiJewish policies fell largely within this function if only because such reports could not be authenticated as long as the enemy remained in control of Soviet territories. In hindsight, we know that even the most horrific accounts of German actions against Jews proved largely accurate. But they had not yet been verified in 1941 and, therefore, were likely regarded by many Soviet people, including Jews and in particular the Ginsburg family, accustomed to seeing how detached from reality Soviet media had been before the war, as merely one more Soviet propaganda spin. Nevertheless, Soviet media can be credited in no small measure with disseminating awareness of true German intentions towards Jews that ultimately reverberated with the Ginsburgs and moved some of them to evacuate while others considered leaving.

99Upon the onset of hostilities, Soviet media institutions also faced new challenges, including the need to inform Soviet citizens in a timely fashion of significant developments on the battlefront. With regard to the Ginsburgs, this meant reporting the actual state of affairs in the southern sector of the SovietGerman front and providing necessary information to arrange for flight from Rostov while it was still possible. Here the results were largely disappointing: the information was frequently unavailable or distorted. Even when provided, it was outdated, resulting in a critical delay for those eager to escape. In this sense, Soviet media bears their share of responsibility.

100In a final account, the impact of the messages emanating from Soviet media depended on whether they accorded with the mindset of their consumers such the Ginsburgs and whether these consumers were able and willing to verify media content from other sources, mainly from rumors coming from refugees. In cognizance of the family’s fear of Soviet censors and their desire not to upset each other overall, the penetration of Soviet media notions is noticeable for all the respondents in 1941. However, occasionally some of them were able to develop a more independent attitude towards events. This occurred because of their exposure to alternative sources of news or when the Soviet regime appeared to be on the verge of collapse. Then, the Soviet media, viewed as an inseparable part of the regime, lost their last vestiges of credibility.

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Notes

1 E.g., Vladimir Brovkin, Russia after Lenin : Politics, Culture and Society, 1921‑1929 (London : Routledge, 1998), 81‑84.

2 E.g., Frank Ellis, “The Media as a Social Engineer,” in Catriona Kelly and David Sheperd, eds., Russian Cultural Studies : An Introduction (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998), 192‑222.

3 Timothy Johnston, Being Soviet : Identity, Rumour, and Everyday Life under Stalin 1939–1953 (New York : Oxford University Press, 2011), 20‑40.

4 Ibid., 30‑34.

5 Karel Berkhoff, Motherland in Danger : Soviet Propaganda during World War II (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2012), 9‑27.

6 For the Holocaust in the central Soviet press, see e.g., Mordechai Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the Soviet Mass Media during the War and in the First Postwar Years Re‑examined,” Yad Vashem Studies, 39, 2 (2011) : 121‑168.

7 Rostov was occupied for the second time between July 1942 and February 1943.

8 The collection of letters is located in the Yad Vashem, archive in Jerusalem. All translations from the original Russian are my own.

9 David Brandenberger, Propaganda State in Crisis : Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under Stalin, 1927‑1941 (New Haven : Yale University Press, 2011), 216‑248. See also Susan Grant, Physical Culture and Sport in Soviet Society : Propaganda, Acculturation, and Transformation in the 1920s and 1930s (New York : Routledge, 2013).

10 E.g., Brandenberger, Propaganda State in Crisis. On specifically Jewish attitudes towards Soviet media during this period, see Mordechai Altshuler. “The Distress of Jews in the Soviet Union in the Wake of the Molotov‑Ribbentrop Pact,” Yad Vashem Studies 36, 2 (2008) : 73‑112.

11 Yad Vashem Archives (henceforth – YVA) : JM/24678. On the general aspects of evacuation, see Rebecca Manley, To the Tashkent Station : Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War, 1941‑1946 (Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2009).

12 E.g., Albert Kaganovich, “Jewish Refugees and Soviet Authorities during World War II,” Yad Vashem Studies 38, 2 (2010) : 85‑121.

13 Joel Hayward, “Too Little, Too Late : An Analysis of Hitler’s Failure in August 1942 to Damage Soviet Oil Production,” Journal of Military History 64, 3 (2000) : 769‑794 ; Idem, “Hitler’s Quest for Oil : The Impact of Economic Considerations on Military Strategy, 1941‑42,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 18, 4 (1995) : 94‑135.

14 On the Battle of the Caucasus in 1941, see Joachim Hoffmann, Kaukasien, 1942‑1943 : Das deutsche Heer und die Orientvölken der Sowjetunion (Freiburg : Rombach Verlag, 1991), 63‑66, 80‑81.

15 On the evacuation of Jews to and from the North Caucasus, see e.g., Kiril Feferman. “A Soviet Humanitarian Action ? : Centre, Periphery and the Evacuation of Refugees to the North Caucasus, 1941‑1942,” Europe‑Asia Studies, 61, 5 (July 2009) : 813‑831.

16 Befehl Hitlers (OKW/WFSt/Abt. L, Nr. 441412/41 g.Kdos.Chefs.), 21.8.1941, in : KTB/OKW (Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht), Bd. 1, S. 1062f. In Johannes Hürter, Hitlers Heerführer : Die deutschen Oberbefehlshaber im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion 1941/42, 2nd ed. (Munich : R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2007), 292‑293.

17 On October 1, 1941, a local agency, in charge of evacuation in Krasnodar Territory, stated in its internal memorandum that Jews constituted 73 % out of 218,000 people received and accommodated in the area. A. Beliaev and I. Bondar´, eds., Kuban´ v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny, 1941‑1945 : Khronika sobytii [The Krasnodar Territory during the Great Patriotic War, 1941‑1945. Chronicle of Events], vol. 1, (Krasnodar : Sovkuban´, 2000), 76‑77.

18 As of 1939, there were 33,024 Jews registered in the Rostov District. Mordechai Altshuler, Soviet Jewry on the Eve of the Holocaust : A Social and Demographic Profile (Jerusalem : Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yad Vashem, 1998), 221.

19 Evgeni Movshovich, “11 avgusta – 60 let tragedii v Zmievskoi balke [August 11 – 60 years since the Tragedy at Zmievskaia Balka],” Shma (Rostov‑na‑Donu), N° 7, 36 (May 15 – July 24, 2002) : 3‑4.

20 Evgeni Movshovich, “Rostov‑na‑Donu,” Entsyklopediia Kholokosta na territorii SSSR [The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust on the Territory of the USSR], Ilia Altman, ed., 2nd ed., (M. : ROSSPEN, 2011), 866.

21 Movshovich, “Rostov‑na‑Donu,” 867. See also Iaakov Krut, Povest´ o podarennoi zhizni [Novel on the Donated Life] (Petach‑Tikwa, 2008), 10. See also Testimony of M. Vdovin in Vladislav Smirnov, Rostov pod ten´iu svastiki [Rostov under the Shadow of Swastika] (Rostov‑na‑Donu : ZAO “Kniga”, 2006), 60.

22 GARO (Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rostovskoi oblasti – State Archive of the Rostov District)), 32/11302/30, p. 139. See also Questioning of V.I. Smirnov, Rostov’s inhabitant, November 30, 1941. GARO, 32/11302/30, p. 134, 139. See also Molot, N° 291 (December 9, 1941).

23 Testimony of Klara Sheglova (1931). September 6, 1997. YVA : O.93/35826. See also Krut, Povest´ o podarennoi zhizni, 10. See also Testimony of V. Varivoda in Smirnov, Rostov pod ten´iu svastiki, 63.

24 Krasnodar, Stavropol. Beliaev and Bondar´, eds., Kuban´ v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny, 25‑26. Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR on enlistment of conscript‑age persons from a number of areas. June 22, 1941. In Stavropol´e v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941‑1945 gg. Sbornik dokumentov i materialov [The Stavropol Territory during the Great Patriotic War, 1941‑1945. Collection of Documents and Materials] (Stavropol : Stavropol´skoe knizhnoe izdatel´stvo, 1962), 27.

25 L. Vaisman, “Vtoroi den´ prizyva. V Rostove [Rostov. The Second Day of the Draft]”, Molot, N° 147, 6026 (June 25) : 3.

26 Molot, N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4.

27 Molot, N° 149, 6028 (June 27) : 4. See also “V oblastnom upravlenii militsii [In the District Police Department],” Molot, N° 151, 6030 (June 29) : 4.

28 Aleksandr Malyshev, Sredstva massovoi informatsii Yuga Rossii v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny : Na materialakh Dona, Kubani, Stavropol´ia [The mass information means of Southern Russia during the Great Patriotic war. Based on the materials from the Rostov District, and the Territories of Krasnodar and Stavropol], PhD dissertation (Rostov‑on‑Don : Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi universitet stroitel´stva, 2001), 45‑46. Only wireless radio sets were requisitioned. Thus, information was still disseminated via the wired radio network. My thanks are extended to Professor Larissa Zakharova for this clarification.

29 Inna Somova, Kul´turnye i religioznye uchrezhdeniia Stavropol´skogo kraia v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny [Cultural and Religious Institutions of the Stavropol Territory during the Great Patriotic war], PhD dissertation (Piatigorskii Gosudarstvennyi lingivisticheskii universitet, 2004), 47‑48.

30 Olga Gershenson, The Phantom Holocaust : Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (New Brunswick : Rutgers University Press, 2013), 13‑28.

31 Molot, N° 147, 6026 (June 25) : 4 ; N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4 ; N° 150, 6029 (June 28, 1941) : 4 ; N° 151, 6030 (June 29, 1941) : 4. See also Tat´iana Zelenskaia, Kul´turno‑prosvetitel´nye uchrezhdeniia Dona i Kubani v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi vony 1941‑1945 gg. [Cultural and Educational Institutions in the Rostov District and the Krasnodar Territory during the Great Patriotic war, 1941‑1945], PhD dissertation (Rostov‑on‑Don : Rostovskii gosudarstvennyi universitet, 2005), 67. Professor Mamlock was not the only prewar Soviet film featuring the persecution of Jews in Germany that ran in Rostov after the out break of war. Another film, The Oppenheim Family was also screened, Molot, N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4 ; Molot, N° 159‑163 (July 9‑13) : 4 ; Molot, N° 182, (August 5, 1941) : 4.

32 S. Borisov, “Pod piatoi germanskogo fashizma [Under the Feet of the German Fascism],” Molot, N° 148, 6027 (June 26) : 4.

33 “Rezhim terrora v Serbii [Terror Regime in Serbia],” Molot, N° 149, 6028 (June 27) : 4. See also N° 150, 6029 (June 28, 1941) : 4.

34 From Liza and Boris Chazkewitz, July 3, YVA : O.75/324, p. 27.

35 On this subject, see Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind : Writing a Diary under Stalin (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2006).

36 Information on the order of receipt and delivery of postal and telegraph correspondence during the war, Molot, N° 159, 6038 (July 9) : 4.

37 From Liza Chazkewitz to Efim Ginsburg, July 23, YVA : O.75/324, p. 29.

38 Idem, July 27, p. 31.

39 Molot, N° 179, 6058 (August, 1) : 4.

40 From Liza Chazkewitz, August 7, YVA : O.75/324, p. 33.

41 Molot, N° 188, 6067 (August, 12) : 2. See also “Izdevatel´svto liudoedov [Cannibals’ Maltreatment],” Pravda August 11. Quoted in Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the Soviet Mass Media during the War…,” 133. See also Vsevolod Ivanov, “Shchit slavy [The Shield of Glory],” Izvestiia, August 29. Quoted in : Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the Soviet Mass Media during the War…,” 134.

42 Molot, N° 188, 6067 (August, 12) : 4.

43 “Prodavtsy slonovoi kosti [Ivory Sellers],” Molot, N° 200, 6079 (August, 26) : 4.

44 A. Tarasov, “Prezrennye palachi i ubiitsy [Despicable Hangmen and Murderers].” Molot, N° 191, 6070 (August, 15) : 2 ; See also Karel C. Berkhoff, “‘Total Annihilation of the Jewish population’ : The Holocaust in the Soviet Media, 1941‑45,” Kritika : Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 10, 1 (2009) : 71.

45 From Liza Chazkewitz, August 31, YVA : O.75/324, p. 37.

46 See e. g., Neil Gregor, “A Schicksalsgemeinschaft ? Allied Bombing, Civilian Morale, and Social Dissolution in Nuremberg, 1942‑1945,” The Historical Journal 43, 4 (December 2000) : 1051‑1070.

47 Testimony of L. Shabalina, in Smirnov, Rostov pod ten´iu svastiki, 43.

48 From Liza Chazkewitz, September 7, YVA : O.75/324, p. 38‑39.

49 From Liza Chazkewitz, September 17, YVA : O.75/324, p. 41.

50 Soiuzkinozhurnal, N° 91, September 18 ; RSACPD : Record 5361. Available at : http://pobeda‑vov.ru/Lib/pages/item.aspx?itemid=10503

51 Molot, N° 227, 6106 (September 26) : 1.

52 From Anna Greener, October 3, YVA : O.75/324, p. 58.

53 From Liza Chazkewitz, October 6, YVA : O.75/324, p. 52.

54 Molot, N° 241, 6120 (October, 12) : 1. See also “Barrikady [Barricades]”. Molot, N° 244, 6123 (October, 15) : 2. See also Molot, N° 245, 6124 (October, 16) : 3, 4. See also Zelenskaia, Kul´turno‑prosvetitel´nye uchrezhdeniia Dona i Kubani, 74.

55 Molot, N° 243, 6122 (October, 14) : 2.

56 From Anna Greener, October 26, YVA : O.75/324, p. 59‑62.

57 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, October 30, YVA : O.75/324, p. 63‑66 and November 3, YVA : O.75/324, p. 68.

58 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, November 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 70.

59 From Tamara Meerovich, November 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 72‑77.

60 Zelenskaia, Kul´turno‑prosvetitel´nye uchrezhdeniia Dona i Kubani, 75.

61 Na zashchite Rodiny. Partiinye organizatsii Dona v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine [In the Defense of the Motherland. Don’s Party Organizations during the Great Patriotic War] (Rostov‑na‑Donu : Rostovskoe knizhnoe izdatel´stvo, 1980), 98‑99.

62 No earlier than November 30. Na zashite Rodiny, 99‑101.

63 Evgeni Movshovich, Ocherki istorii evreev na Donu [Essays on the History of the Jews on Don] (Rostov‑na‑Donu : Donskoi izdatel´skii dom, 2006), 127.

64 Molot, N° 285, 6163 (December 3) : 1. Source : “Nashi voiska presleduiut otstupaiushego vraga [Our Forces are Pursuing the Retreating Enemy]”, Pravda December 2. See also December 7. Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 1.

65 Molot, N° 286, 6164 (December 4) : 1.

66 E.g., December 7. Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 2. See also Molot, N° 290, 6168 (December 8) : 2. See also Soiuzkinozhurnal N° 114, “V osvobozhdennom Rostove [In Liberated Rostov]”(December 23). RSACPD : Record 4672. See also Jeremy Hicks, First films of the Holocaust : Soviet cinema and the genocide of the Jews, 1938‑1946 (Pittsburgh, PA : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), 47‑58.

67 Molot, N° 291, 6169.

68 E.g., Ezra Vilenski, “V osvobozhdennom Rostove [In Liberated Rostov],” Izvestiia N° 284, 7660 (December, 2) : 3.

69 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 10, YVA : O.75/324, p. 79.

70 Molot, N° 293, 6171 (December 11) : 1. See also Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 1 ; P. Nikitin, “Na ulitsakh Rostova [On Rostov’s Streets] ;” Izvestiia, N° 290, 7666 (December 9) : 2 ; “Voennye zadachi Bolshevikov Dona [Military Tasks of the Don Bolsheviks],” Molot, N° 305, 6183 (December 24) : 1.

71 E.g., Molot, N° 289, 6167 (December 7) : 1, 2.

72 From Tsilia Pinchos, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 80‑83.

73 E.g., Testimony of Anna Shagina‑Blokh, April 1965, YVA : 0.3/3146, p. 1.

74 From Tamara Meerovich, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 84.

75 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener to Tamara Meerovich, December 12, YVA : O.75/324, p. 87.

76 Ibid., December 13, p. 88‑89.

77 Molot, N° 299, 6177 (December 17) : 1.

78 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 18, YVA : O.75/324, p. 70.

79 D. Iashenko, “Na ulitsakh Rostova [On Rostov’s Streets],” Molot, N° 300, 6178 (December 18) : 2.

80 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 20, YVA : O.75/324, p. 94‑97.

81 Molot, N° 302, 6180 (December 20) : 2.

82 On this topic, see e. g., Altshuler, “The Holocaust in the Soviet Mass Media during the War…,” 121‑168 ; Berkhoff, “‘Total Annihilation of the Jewish population’,” 61‑105.

83 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener to Tsilia Pinkhos, December 21, YVA : O.75/324, p. 99.

84 Molot, N° 304, 6182 (December 20) : 1.

85 V. Zolotarev, “V shkolakh goroda vozobnovliaiutsia zaniatiia [Studies Are Resuming in the City’s Schools…].” Molot, N° 310, 6188 (December 28) : 2.

86 Ibid, p. 2.

87 From Tsilia Pinkhos, December 29, YVA : O.75/324, p. 102‑103. The letter was signed by her sister Tsilia, but from its content it is clear that Tamara wrote it.

88 From Liza Chazkewitz and Anna Greener, December 31, ibid, p. 105‑106.

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Kiril Feferman, « To Flee or Not To Flee »Cahiers du monde russe, 56/2-3 | 2015, 517-542.

Référence électronique

Kiril Feferman, « To Flee or Not To Flee »Cahiers du monde russe [En ligne], 56/2-3 | 2015, mis en ligne le 17 novembre 2019, consulté le 28 octobre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/monderusse/8199; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/monderusse.8199

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Auteur

Kiril Feferman

USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, kiril.feferman@mail.huji.ac.il

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© École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.

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