THE JEWISH STEPPE

THE JEWISH STEPPE

    Price: $99.95

    Code: 1881
    Format: DVD

    Directed by Valery Ovchinnikov
    2001, 16 mins.
    Purchase: $99.95



    Documents the tragic history of an agrarian commune established in the Soviet Union during the Twenties. Although the 1917 Russian Revolution abolished many previous restrictions on Jewish life, Jews remained the victims of pogroms and other violence during the ensuing Civil War. In 1924, 30,000 Jewish families decided to become farmers but the only land the new government could make available to them was on the Crimean steppe, an area notorious for its hot, arid summers, unfertile soil, and slight rainfall, with the only water located deep underground. Nevertheless, entire Jewish families, including the elderly and children, made heroic efforts to settle the area, build housing, and engage in collective farming. Within two years the area was recognized as the Soviet Union's first Jewish District, complete with its own schools and colleges. This unusual social experiment came to an end due to Stalinist repression in the late Thirties and, following the devastation of WWII, the Jewish settlements were never reconstructed.


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