Tag Archives: CU Jewish Studies Program

When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone

15 Feb


An Evening with Author Gal Beckerman…

Save the date:

Monday, March 14 @ 7:30 PM
On the CU-Boulder Campus
Center for Community (C4C),  
Flatirons Room 

An event sponsored by the CU Jewish Studies Program and the Maria Rogers Oral History Program of the Boulder Library’s Carnegie Branch Library for Local History

The Soviet Jewry movement is one of the great exodus stories of modern times, as well as one of the most successful human rights campaigns in history. Now, in journalist Gal Beckerman’s When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone, comes the account of the battle to save Jews from Soviet oppression after World War II, a struggle that shaped the world we live in today.  The mass emigration that finally occurred in 1989 has had enormous political, social, and cultural consequences, virtually remaking Israel and forever altering American politics. 

At the end of the war, nearly three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradox: unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave. Those who tried were followed by the KGB, often denied jobs and higher education, even forced into menial labor or imprisoned simply for gathering with other Jews. It was illegal to study Hebrew or the Torah, and the punishment was often internal exile—not external exile, which is what they really wanted.   

Gal Beckerman is a reporter at the Forward. He was a longtime editor and staff writer at the Columbia Journalism Review and has also written for the New York Times Book Review, the Jerusalem Post, and Utne Reader, among other publications. He was a fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and the recipient of a Pulitzer traveling fellowship from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

The evening will also be a celebration and launch of the Boulder Action for Soviet Jewry Oral History Project.  Boulder Action for Soviet Jewry (BASJ) was a local group featured in Gal Beckerman’s book.  Twenty-four years ago it advocated for and eventually secured the release of more than 250 Soviet refuseniks and refugees.  The work of this group remained largely untold and unpreserved, so in November 2009 a collaboration between veteran BASJ leaders and staff, CU’s Program in Jewish Studies, and the Boulder Public Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program began to document the oral histories of organizers, community leaders, host families, and resettled Soviet Jews and their families. This body of oral histories will constitute a comprehensive historical resource for research and understanding of the significance of this human rights and refugee resettlement movement.  

 This event is free and open to the public but  space is limited so RSVP’s are required.   
Please RSVP to Brandon.Springer@colorado.edu
or  call 303.492.7143.  



%d bloggers like this: