Post War Climate
There was a dramatic increase in Soviet antisemitism after the war. Many Jewish veterans had a difficult time finding work, receiving medical treatment, and some felt they were denied medals. Life had been better for Jews under Communism compared to The Tsar. The Bolsheviks initially muted Russia’s systemic anti-Jewish mentality by avoiding or prohibiting all religions, instead of rehabilitating the cultural image of Jewishness. Stalin revived latent ideas of Jews as parasites by rhetorically aligning them with The USSR’s new cold war enemies, effectively making Jews a scapegoat for post war domestic issues. It’s telling that Stalin initially supported the idea of a Jewish state but changed his mind when Israel aligned itself with The United States. Many point to Solomon Mikhoels’ murder in 1948 as a turning point, when Soviet antisemitism reverted back to violent persecution from more subtle forms of bureaucratic discrimination. Golda Meir’s visit to Moscow that same year is also held up as a pivotal moment. Stalin viewed the support for Meir as a threat to his own power and subsequently increased pressure on organizations like the JAC. Stalin’s post war attacks on Soviet Jews culminated in The Night Of Murdered Poets and The Doctors Plot.
Many of the veterans interviewed, while stating that they did not experience anti-Semitism during the war time period, expressed anger and disappointment at being denied medals or being passed over for military promotions after the war.
Victory parade in Moscow 1945