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Leningradskii Evreiskii Al’manakh

Russian-language Jewish samizdat journal published in Leningrad between 1982 and 1989. Leningradskii evreiskii al’manakh (Leningrad Jewish Almanac) was the organ of Leningrad refuseniks (persons denied the right to emigrate to Israel). Among the founding editors were Eduard Erlikh, Iakov Gorodetskii, Iurii Kolker, and Grigorii Vasserman. Initially its creators viewed the journal as the organ of Leningradskoe Obshchestvo po Izucheniiu Evreiskoi Kul’tury (Leningrad Society for the Study of Jewish Culture), which they had tried, unsuccessfully, to register with the authorities in 1982. Its editors changed as some were allowed to emigrate, and the first group was replaced by Mikhail Beizer, Semen Frumkin, and Rimma Zapesotskaia.

Leningradskii evreiskii al’manakh appeared on average three times a year, producing a total of 19 issues. It was produced from typescript in runs of 50–100 copies and was distributed in a number of the larger cities of the USSR. Unlike samizdat publishers in other areas, its editors maintained a policy of secrecy and did not list their names or addresses.

The purpose of the journal was to study problems of Jewish culture and history, with current events playing a lesser part. It placed an emphasis on original articles devoted to the history of Jews in Russia and the USSR. To some extent the journal was an attempt to revive the school of Jewish history that had previously existed in Saint Petersburg, and to cultivate local lore. Other topics included antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the role of Jews in the Russian revolutionary movement. A two-volume work, Sovremennyi evreiskii fol’klor (Contemporary Jewish Folklore), appeared as a supplement to Leningradskii evreiskii al’manakh. The journal ended its existence in 1989 as perestroika took hold.

Suggested Reading

Mikhail Beizer, “Evreiskii samizdat v Leningrade v 1980-kh godakh: Leningradskii evreiskii al’manakh,” in Rossiiskii sionizm: Istoriia i kul’tura; Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii, pp. 292–299 (Moscow, 2002); “LEA (Leningradskii Evreiskii al’manakh),” in V. E. Dolinin, B. I. Ivanov, B. V. Ostanin, and D. I. Severiukhin, Samizdat Leningrada 1950-e–1980-e: Literaturnaia entsiklopediia, pp. 417–418 (Moscow, 2003).



Translated from Russian by Yisrael Cohen