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 zone the place, in 1925, humans pointed out as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived aspect via facet. Over the following 3 many years, this mosaic of cultures was once modernized and homogenized out of life through the ruling may of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and eventually, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. via the Fifties, this "no position" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mixture of peoples that outlined the area used to be destroyed. Brown's examine is grounded within the lifetime of the village and shtetl, within the personalities and small histories of daily life during this quarter. In outstanding element, she files how those regimes, bureaucratically after which violently, separated, named, and regimented this complex group into special ethnic teams. Drawing on lately opened documents, ethnography, and oral interviews that have been unavailable a decade in the past, A Biography of No position unearths Stalinist and Nazi background from the point of view 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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And Saulevich had no horses or cars to give to his investigators. They had to get to the distant homesteads, hamlets, and villages as best they could on their own. One inspector described how he traveled: It’s a big problem getting out to villages. The regional administration has only one car, and the chairman of the region and his secretary use it. So I have to wait for chance rides. . I go to the market and search out a collective farmer who is going where I’m going. I make an agreement with him and wait while he takes care of his affairs.

My professional biography followed and benefited from this conflict. S. ” In 1987, I went to Leningrad as an exchange student and watched how Mikhail Gorba- Introduction 17 chev seemed to be serious about reforming the morally and financially bankrupt Soviet government. From 1988 to 1991 I worked with a SovietAmerican student exchange program and traveled frequently and widely throughout the former Soviet Union. I heard the disappointment of Lithuanians in November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down.

Those they did leave behind had been driven over by the tanks of two armies and the incendiary fury of thousands of partisans. Though I had placed a great deal of hope in the archives, it soon became clear that the surviving documents offered only a small part of the story. Perhaps, I thought, if I went to Marchlevsk, the place itself might tell its story. It took a long time to get to Dovbysh, the former Marchlevsk. There was no train connection, and bus service had fallen off considerably with the long economic convalescence of independent Ukraine.

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