The Tale of a Tour: Solomon Mikhoels, Itzik Fefer, and the Soviet Encounter with American Jewry
Swarthmore College. Dept. of History
Place of Publication
Winner of the 2016 Paul H. Beik Prize
Table of Contents
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In June 1943 Solomon Mikhoels and Itzik Fefer, members of the Soviet Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, embarked on a tour of the United States and several other countries. The aims of the tour were to raise funds for the Red Army, and to improve American perceptions of the Soviet Union. Reactions to the tour in the American Jewish community can be gauged through coverage of the events in the American Jewish press. These publications represent a wide range of political viewpoints, contributing a variety of perspectives on the tour. Aside from newspapers, another major presence in the events of the tour was that of American Jewish organizations. Like the press, these each had a political agenda of their own, which added to the complexity of relationships within the American Jewish community, and relations with the Soviet Union. This work investigates the significance of the tour in the Soviet Union and the United States. In particular, it views the tour and discussions surrounding it as a point of entry into understanding the landscape of tensions animating American Jewry and its reckoning with the Soviet Union during World War II.