Farming the Red Land

Jewish Agricultural Colonization and Local Soviet Power, 1924–1941

Jonathan L. Dekel-Chen

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This is the first history of the Jewish agricultural colonies that were established in Crimea and Southern Ukraine in 1924 and that, fewer than 20 years later, ended in tragedy. Jonathan Dekel-Chen opens an extraordinary window on Soviet rural life during these turbulent years, and he documents the remarkable relations that developed among the American-Jewish sponsors of the ambitious project, the Soviet authorities, and the colonists themselves.
Drawing on extensive and largely untouched archives and a wealth of previously unpublished oral histories, the book revises what has been understood about these agricultural settlements. Dekel-Chen offers new conclusions about integration and separation among Soviet Jews, the contours of international relations, and the balance of political forces within the Jewish world during this volatile period.

Jonathan L. Dekel-Chen is a lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Dekel-Chen draws upon a massive source base to reconstruct the history of Jewish agricultural colonization in the Crimea—the sheer breadth of his research is staggering. This is a first-rate piece of scholarship and writing, with important implications for Russian, Jewish, and American historiography.”—Gregory Freeze, Brandeis University

"A major contribution to the scholarship on Soviet Jewry, the Kremlin's policy toward national minorities, and the weaknesses of government power in the Soviet countryside during the 1920s and 1930s. Drawing upon his in-depth research in archives in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and the United States, Dekel-Chen offers a sophisticated analysis."—Robert Weinberg, Journal of Modern History
ISBN: 9780300103311
Publication Date: May 11, 2005
384 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
18 b/w illus.