A Jewish Woman of Distinction

The Life and Diaries of Zinaida Poliakova

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Author: ChaeRan Y. Freeze (translated by Gregory L. Freeze)

Series: Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry and HBI Series on Jewish Women

Zinaida Poliakova (1863-1953) was the eldest daughter of Lazar Poliakov, known as the Russian Rothschild, who dominated Russian finance and railroads in Imperial Russia. Her diaries provide a rare glimpse into the world of the Jewish elites and a “political economy of intimacy” — a complex calculus of capital, aristocratic sociability, cultural patronage and philanthropy. Her aristocratic lifestyle informed her tastes, habits and sociability even as an émigré in France, during World War II in Paris, and in postwar England, after her family perished during the Holocaust. Women’s voices are often lost in the sweep of history, and so “A Jewish Woman of Distinction” is an exceptional, much-needed testament. These newly discovered primary archival sources will change the way we understand the full breadth of the Russian Jewish experience.

Subject: Biography and Letters

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