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A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet by Kate Brown

By Kate Brown

This can be 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 part by means of part. Over the subsequent 3 a long time, this mosaic of cultures used to be modernized and homogenized out of life by way of the ruling may possibly of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and at last, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. via the Fifties, this "no position" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mixture of peoples that outlined the quarter used to be destroyed. Brown's examine is grounded within the lifetime of the village and shtetl, within the personalities and small histories of lifestyle during this sector. In amazing element, she files how those regimes, bureaucratically after which violently, separated, named, and regimented this tricky neighborhood into certain ethnic teams. Drawing on lately opened information, ethnography, and oral interviews that have been unavailable a decade in the past, A Biography of No position finds Stalinist and Nazi heritage from the viewpoint of the distant borderlands, therefore bringing the outer edge to the heart of heritage. 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 info for A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland

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They were complemented by a group of mainly Jewish cobblers, tan- Inventory 27 ners, tailors, blacksmiths, millers, and traders, and by people who ran the granary, steam plant, windmills, and a small (one-worker) brick factory. Of the three thousand persons in Dovbysh, fourteen were Communist Party members: six Poles, four Ukrainians, and four Jews. 20 So why put the center of the Polish region in a forgotten, remote settlement? There were towns and small cities in the borderlands that already possessed the infrastructure and economic base to support a regional government.

Of the three thousand persons in Dovbysh, fourteen were Communist Party members: six Poles, four Ukrainians, and four Jews. 20 So why put the center of the Polish region in a forgotten, remote settlement? There were towns and small cities in the borderlands that already possessed the infrastructure and economic base to support a regional government. The cities of Proskuriv, Novograd-Volynsk, and Zhytomyr all possessed sizable Polish populations and had a good road or two, or a train line, as well as phone and radio links.

46 The first task was to “sovietize,” a euphemism for modernizing using locally elected village and town councils (sovety) as the basic unit of political organization, and consumer cooperatives as the building blocks of the economic struc- 38 A Biography of No Place ture. 47 The link from village to capital, however, was tenuous, perforated by long distances, bad roads, poor communications, and grievous misunderstandings of what it meant to rule in a communist way. Counting National Bodies In order to reform, modernizing societies first take stock.

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