Slavica Publishers has just released A UKRAINIAN CHAPTER, A Jewish Aid Worker’s Memoir of Sorrow (Podolia, 1918-1920). The book is my translation of a Yiddish diary originally published in Vilna in 1921. The memoir by Eli Gumener (1886-1941) recounts two years in the life of a relief worker during the Russian Civil War; my expanded version in English places the author’s experiences in historical context.
Set in southwest Ukraine, Gumener describes the effect of pogroms on Jewish communities, the challenges of providing relief, and the conflicts between parties with various political agendas. He lived a courageous and vulnerable life during and after the Civil War, providing aid to victims but finally becoming a victim himself twenty years later in the Holocaust.