Jewish Anzacs from Russia: Breaking Stereotypes

February 1, 2018 by Community newsdesk
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The Australian Jewish Historical Society – Victoria Inc will host Dr Elena Govor at its AGM later this month.

Dr Elena Govor

Dr. Elena Govor is an Australian historian, born in Minsk, Belarus, who grew up surrounded by celebratory military parades, military museums and numerous books and movies that glorified the cult of Soviet war heroes. Elena instinctively pushed aside the official state narratives of war. But, only on fleeing to Australia in the 1990s with her husband, a former soldier who was later sentenced to 10 years in a labour camp for ‘anti-Soviet activities’, did Elena discover a more subtle and complex narrative of nation-formation through war. She now lives in Canberra, where she received her Doctorate in History from the ANU in 1996. She has been widely published in Russia and Australia, and was recently reviewed in our November 2017 Journal.

It is little known that there were about a thousand Russian-born First World War soldiers who fought for Australia, and that among them were nearly 150 Jewish Anzacs. Some were well-recognised heroes, but the rest were often invisible and their stories needed to be told. Elena did this in her ground-breaking 2005 book Russian Anzacs in Australian History, which weaves together their remarkable stories and makes them visible. Many of their descendants live among us today.

Thursday, 15th February, 2018

at

7.30 pm

at

Temple Beth Israel

76 Alma Road, St Kilda

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