By Arie M. Dubnov (auth.)
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Extra resources for Isaiah Berlin: The Journey of a Jewish Liberal
Years later, when asked to review a monographic study about the Beillis Affair, Berlin was very reluctant. To Meyer Weisgal, who pressured Berlin to write the review, he wrote that he was willing to write “only for the Jewish Chronicle or some other Jewish publication. ”47 In the review that eventually did appear in the Jewish Chronicle Berlin made an enormous A Young Boy from Riga 31 effort to marginalize the “Jewish angle” by treating the Beiliss case as a chapter in “Russian,” rather than “Jewish,” history.
The Pandora’s box opened by 1905 was filled with new ideologies and forms of violence, compelling Jews, Germans, and Latvians to reconfigure their relationship not only with the autocratic regime but also with their neighbors. For some reason, Isaiah Berlin mentioned none of this in his interviews or recollections. For his parents, however, these were seismic shifts starting a domino effect, eventually leading to their emigration to England. In his memoir Mendel reports at length about the 1914 deportation of Jews, and about the major role played by Rabbi Alexander Siskind (Süskind) Berlin, one of Berlin’s mother’s uncles, when establishing (with Eliyahu Schalit and others) an emergency aid committee to assist the deportees.
The city’s relatively prosperous and steadily growing Jewish community, as this chapter will show, found itself in a complex situation. It was neither a typical Eastern European corporatist and semiautonomous kehilah, nor a Western European city, whose middle-class Jews are fully and equally integrated5; and its geographical location, right at the meeting point of BalticGerman and imperial Russian cultures, made the processes of change and the pressures that accompanied them quintessentially “Baltic,” quite unique when compared to elsewhere.
Isaiah Berlin: The Journey of a Jewish Liberal by Arie M. Dubnov (auth.)