|For much of the twentieth century, rumors have circulated about Lenin’s Jewish roots – often assumed to be nothing more than antisemitic propaganda. In his new book, Lenin’s Jewish Question, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern examines Lenin’s controversial background, in particular the now-documented fact that Lenin had a maternal Jewish great-grandfather named Moshko Blank. Professor Petrovsky-Shtern will discuss his discoveries about Moshko Blank, Blank’s conversion to Christianity, and related questions, such as why Soviet communists sought to suppress any discussion of Lenin’s Jewishness, why Russian racists attempted to portray Lenin as a Jew, and why Lenin approached the Jewish question as he did.
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is an Associate Professor of Jewish History at Northwestern University, specializing in the history of Russian Jewry. He is also the author of Jews in the Russian Army, 1827-1917: Drafted into Modernity and The Anti-Imperial Choice: the Making of the Ukrainian Jew.