NEIGHBORSHIP LOST: Jews in the Cultural Memory of Contemporary Latgale / Ed. S. Amosova. Sefer Center, Moscow, 2013.
This book represents the results of expeditions to Latgale (Eastern Latvia) organized by Sefer Center in 2011–2012. The main subject of the research is the image of Jews from the point of view of their non-Jewish neighbors. The expeditions were carried out in those towns where Jews represented a significant part of the pre-WWII population, and where they played a significant role in the cultural and economic life: Preili, Kraslava, Daugavpils, Rezekne and others. A large number of interviews were conducted with the older representatives of the local population (Russians, Latvians (Latgalians), Belorussians and Poles). The goal of the interviews was to obtain an image of the towns (which can be called shtetls), as reflected in the stories of the locals. “Oral history”, memories of ethnic neighbors, the idea of the Jew as “the Other”, non-Jews’ view of Jewish traditions, language, appearance, religion and places of worship – all this helps to construct a model of a multi-ethnic society in the first half of the XXth century.
The book consists of two parts. The first part is composed of annotated publications of the expedition materials, in which the texts of the interviews are published with authorial comments. The second part contains articles based on oral, archival and literary sources, dedicated to the history of Jews in Latvia in the XXth century, to the image of Jews in literature, etc.
The research was carried out by folklorists, social anthropologists and historians specialized in the study of ethnic stereotypes, cultural contacts and transformation of the traditional community in the face of modernization. The research team included students and research fellows from the State Republic Center of Russian Folklore (Moscow), the European University at Saint-Petersburg, the University of Tartu, Daugavpils University and the University of Latvia (Riga).
Svetlana Amosova (Ed.-in-chief, Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)
Ekaterina Kuznetsova (Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization)
Ilia Lensky (Museum “Jews in Latvia”, Riga)
Anna Shaevich (Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization)
Mikhail Alekseevsky. Ethno-Cultural Stereotypes of Jewish Character in Contemporary Latgale Daria Tereshina. “Many Jews... were Tradesmen”: Memories of Jewish Shops and Itinerant Peddlers in Latgale before WWII
III. Reference materials