Zhid - A Russian Odyssey by Marvin A. Goldberg (Copyright 2006) Zhid - A Russian Odyssey first explores Jewish family life in pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia. It then goes on to illustrate how one family's personal political values changed or intensified affecting their lives once they immigrated to the United States. In the United States each branch of the Zhidovetsky/Goldberg family reacted differently to their newly found freedoms. One embraced socialist and later communist values while others followed the democratic ...
Zhid - A Russian Odyssey by Marvin A. Goldberg (Copyright 2006) Zhid - A Russian Odyssey first explores Jewish family life in pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia. It then goes on to illustrate how one family's personal political values changed or intensified affecting their lives once they immigrated to the United States. In the United States each branch of the Zhidovetsky/Goldberg family reacted differently to their newly found freedoms. One embraced socialist and later communist values while others followed the democratic and capitalistic viewpoints of their new country. The most famous of these first generation Americans was Ella Goldberg Wolfe, wife of Bertram David Wolfe, the noted Russian historian and author. Bert and Ella's lives were closely knit with that of the New York socialist intelligentsia in the early 1900s. Their changing views on peace, socialism, communism and later anti-communism were part of their process of awakening to their "Americanism." Both were members of New York's Greenwich Village "Lyric Left" that included John (Jack) Reed, Jay Lovestone, Max Eastman, Emma Goldmann, and Eugene O'Neill, among others. Ella was interviewed for Warren Beatty's biopic about Jack Reed and Louise Bryant - "Reds" - and provided basic "first hand" information for the film. Active Peaceniks during World War I, the Wolfes were hounded by the seditionist police in the post-world-war era because of their pro-peace and socialist values. We follow their swing to communism, and then travel with them around the U.S. while they seek to avoid capture. Eventually they immigrate to Mexico where they become an important part of the Mexican communist movement that included artists Diego Riveraand Frida Kahlo, both of whom became their confidantes. In 1929, as delegates to the Comintern Congress in Moscow, Bert's views about the American Communist movement causes both to become targets of Joseph Stalin, and they are held under house arrest until Julius Hammer arranges for their release. Upon return to the U.S. both Bert and Ella become part of the Lovestone anti-Stalinist faction and later become virulent anti-communists. Bert Wolfe, his brother-in-law Harry Goldberg and Jay Lovestone were considered to be among the most valuable secret political assets of the U.S. during the cold war. Bert passed away in 1977 after have written numerous books about Russian Communism including the epic Three Who Made a Revolution. Ella outlived most of her generation and passed on at the age of one hundred and three in January of 2000. Their love story, matched against the background of the politics and upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries, is both meaningful and poignant. We follow, in like fashion, other members of the family Zhidovetsky/Goldberg and their new lives, successes and failures in their adopted country. Finally, the moral issues confronting the United States today are explored and some interesting similarities vis--vis the past and present are discussed with regard to the views of the author and other members of this extraordinary family.
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