During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which pitted a left-leaning Republic, suported by the Soviet Union, against right-leaning nationalists, supported by the Nazi, more than 35,000 people from more than 50 countries went to Spain to fight against fascism for the Republic.
Today’s guest, Lisa Kirschenbaum of West Chester University in Pennsylvania, talks about who some of those people were and what role the Soviet Union played in training them and welcoming them as exiles.
Host:Augusta Dell’Omo, Department of History, UT-Austin Guest:Tatjana Lichtenstein, Professor, Department of History, and Director, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, UT-Austin
After World War 1, the Zionist movement – the Jewish nationalist movement that had the creation of a national homeland as its ultimate goal – took root in the new country of Czechoslovakia. However, through the mechanisms of the Zionist movement itself, Czechoslovak Jews realized their collective power as an organized group within their own country for the first time. What happened next was a struggle between the goals of international Zionism and the potential reality of what Czechoslovakian Jewry could attain through collective bargaining – until the rise of Hitler and WWII tipped the scales.
Guest Tatjana Lichtenstein has studied the Zionist movement in Czechoslovakia and gives us a glimpse into the interwar period when Czech Jewish leaders saw the possibility of being accepted into European society, ironically through the mechanisms of a movement that’s become associated with immigration to the Middle East.