I Saw It


I Saw It: Ilya Selvinsky
and the Legacy of
Bearing Witness to the Shoah

by Maxim D. Shrayer
340 pages

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Cloth: 978-1-61811-169-2
eBook: 978-1-61811-191-3
Paper: 978-1-61811-307-8

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"This is the remarkable story, never before told, of the Jewish-Russian poet Ilya Selvinsky, who despite all odds first taught his fellow Jews and Russians how to mourn their incalculable losses."
—David G. Roskies, Jewish Theological Seminary, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"Maxim D. Shrayer's searing account of the struggles of a famous Soviet-Jewish poet and military officer...is among the most original and illuminating studies of the Holocaust as experienced by a generation of Soviet intellectuals who witnessed the atrocities..."
—Wendy Lower, Claremont McKenna College

"Maxim D. Shrayer meticulously and unflinchingly chronicles the Nazi massacre of Jews in Kerch, Crimea, and its reflection in Ilya Selvinsky's extraordinarily powerful poems . A memorable book that will fascinate a broad range of readers."
—Michael Wachtel, Princeton University

"A sophisticated literary analysis of Ilya Selvinsky's texts, Maxim D. Shrayer's book demonstrates a deep knowledge of the history of the Holocaust in the USSR. It is the first study of poet's career in the context of Shoah memorization. Shrayer's book must be published in Russian translation."
—Ilya Altman, Russian Holocaust Center, Russian State University for the Humanities

"Comprehensive, meticulously researched, erudite, and up-to-date...Maxim D. Shrayer's study of Ilya Selvinsky closes gaps both in the history of Soviet Russian literature and in the history of the literature of the Holocaust."
—Leona Toker, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem