Pamela Braun Cohen decided to change the world. And she did.
In her book, HIDDEN HEROES: : One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in The Soviet Union she provides a play by play history of the Save Soviet Jewry movement.
This is not an easy book. Retelling the story of Soviet Jewry is not an easy topic. Ms Cohen, an absolute insider to the fight, has jammed over 20 years of intense history into 400 riveting pages.
As a teenager in NY, I was very involved with the demonstrations and protests at the Soviet embassy, consulate, and Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in the late 60s. Reading Ms. Cohen’s book was, in some ways, a trip down memory lane. As she writes about the early refuseniks, I found myself remembering many of the names. I read the ends of so many stories I knew at the beginning.
The struggle to get the Refuseniks and other Jews out of the Soviet Union was a masterwork of intense effort, political acumen, and stubborn belief that it could be done. Coordinating immigration from the USSR to the US and Israel was not simple. That immigration happened at all is a miracle.
The sections on Central Asia are particularly riveting. I suspect most people, self included, were unaware of the treatment of Jews outside the European half of the Soviet Union. What you learn from reading the detailed descriptions of UCSJ’s determined effort to get Jews out, is that silence is NOT an option.
The biggest takeaway is the art of NOT being silent. And as hard as it is to read, HIDDEN HEROES should be on everyone’s reading list. It stands as a lesson we need to learn again and again. Ms Cohen chose NOT to be silent. She chose to change the world. And she did.
HIDDEN HEROES: One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in The Soviet Union is available through Amazon and bookstores everywhere.