When They Come For Us We'll Be Gone

I just finished Gal Beckerman's wonderfully detailed account of Soviet Jews during the Cold War Era. It was so interesting I didn't want it to end, I read the Acknowledgements at the end. Beckerman lays the book out in two story-lines: the American Jews struggling to raise awareness and the Soviet Jews trying to get our of the USSR. In both countries the movement is very grassroots; in the USSR it stays that way. Knowing next to nothing about this time period except that my aunt and uncle brought us all pieces of the Berlin wall when it came down in 1989, I gained a lot of historical information.

I can go on and on about the book; but let's be honest, not including the notes (but including the Acknowledgements) it's 540 pages. There's a lot of information in here, written in a great story form. The oppression and descrimination is Kafka-esque. It was hard for me to believe this actually happened, during my lifetime. The heroics and passion of the individuals involved is remarkable and inspiring. It is an encouragement to me to know that great things start out small. It was just a few Russian Jews underground, and a handful of American Jews in New York and Ohio that made the issue of Soviet Jewry and human rights a bargaining chip in the arms battle between the US and the USSR.  If I were in the States I'd be loaning this out along with Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. You'll have to settle for my reviews.