3: Written account, Ruth Nordlicht’s “A Personal Glimpse from Behind the Iron Curtain,” 1975.
This unpublished account of travel in the USSR, “A Personal Glimpse from Behind the Iron Curtain,” was written in 1975 by Ruth Nordlicht, a Soviet Jewry Movement activist. Nordlicht was one of many American Jews who traveled to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, conveying news to and from Soviet Jewish activists who were unable to emigrate. Many such typed-up and hand-written documents are preserved in Jewish communal and institutional archives in the West, including the American Jewish Historical Society.
Suggested Activity: Read the account by Ruth Nordlicht, and discuss: how does she experience the Soviet Union? Imagine Nordlicht as one of the guests at the Kornblum house in David Bezmozgis’s story: how would the Kornblums and their Canadian Jewish guests receive her story? How would the Bermans and the other Soviet Jewish family at the dinner table react to it?
Source: Ruth Nordlicht, “A Personal Glimpse from Behind the Iron Curtain,” unpublished personal account, 1975. Courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society.