From the late 1930s to early 1950s, Jews in the Soviet Union were targeted for heightened measures of repression by Joseph Stalin. After imprisonment, they formed a distinct minority group in the Gulag that endured not only violence and hard labor, but antisemitic attitudes from both guards and fellow inmates. Amid these trials, Jewish inmates forged a mutually supportive ethno-religious community, leaning on Zionism, religious observance, and Jewish cultural traditions for spiritual support.
Jeff Hardy received his PhD in history from Princeton University and has taught at BYU since 2011. His research centers on repressive institutions in the Soviet Union. His most recent book, Finding God in the Gulag (forthcoming, 2024), examines the experience of Christians who maintained their faith while imprisoned in the face of harsh anti-religious repression. Professor Hardy is a faculty research fellow at the Kennedy Center.
Part of our winter 2024 lecture series, "Authoritarianism and Its Discontents."