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Night of the Murdered Poets

Posted On: Aug 14, 2019   |   Posted By: Tablet Magazine

Night of the Murdered Poets

Tradition tells us that the greatest calamities to befall the Jews have happened on the ninth of Av: the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem; the expulsions from England (1290), France (1306), and Spain (1492); even the largest mass murder of Jews in the Americas, the bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1994). All of these tragedies have found their way into the ritualized Tisha B'Av mourning.
What you'll never find in any martyrology service is another infamous date of mass murder: August 12, 1952. On that date 13 members of the Soviet Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were executed for invented crimes against the state. Subsequently, August 12 became a kind of secular Tisha B'Av for a small but vibrant sector of Yiddish-speaking, socialist but anti-Communist, American Jews. Many of the participants had known the murdered, or been a part of their larger literary circles.

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