Described by theater critics as one of the twentieth century s greatest talents, Benjamin Zuskin (1899 1952) was a star of the Moscow State Jewish Theater. In writing "The Travels of Benjamin Zuskin," his daughter, Ala Zuskin Perelman, has rescued from oblivion his story and that of the theater in which he served as performer and, for a period, artistic director. Against the backdrop of the Soviet regime s effort to stifle any expression of Jewish identity, the Moscow State Jewish Theater throughout its thirty years of existence (1919 49) maintained a high level of artistic excellence while also becoming a center of Jewish life and culture. A member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, Zuskin was arrested under fabricated charges and eventually executed on August 12, 1952, along with twelve other eminent Soviet Jews and committee members.
Zuskin Perelman s fascinating chronicle, more than just a personal memoir, conveys the vibrancy and energy of Jewish theater, celebrates the cultural achievements of Soviet Jews, and calls attention to the tragic fate that awaited them. "The Travels of Benjamin Zuskin" sheds light on Soviet Jewish history through the lens of one of the period s most influential cultural icons."