Today, January 14, marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, whose life tragically ended in the Stalinist camp at the end of 1938.
The Russian Jewish Congress in cooperation with the State Museum of the History of Russian Literature named after V. I. Dahl and the HSE Mandelstam Center will hold an online evening "I was born on the night of January 2 to January 3...". The meeting will open in Russia a program of celebrations timed to coincide with the 130th anniversary of the birth of Osip Mandelstam.
One of the main events of the anniversary year will be the opening at the Museum of the History of Literature of the 20th Century on March 15 in the central building of the V.I. Dahl on Zubovsky Boulevard of the permanent exhibition "Mandelstam Street: Osip and Nadezhda", dedicated to the life, work and posthumous fate of the poet. The concept of the exposition was developed by the museum in cooperation with the Mandelstam Center of the Higher School of Economics. The project was carried out with the support of the Russian Jewish Congress.
The meeting will be attended by the director of the State Museum of the History of Russian Literature named after V.I. Dalia Dmitry Bak; Pavel Nerler, Chairman of the Mandelstam Society, Director of the Mandelstam Center of the Higher School of Economics; literary critic, 1st secretary of the Moscow Writers' Union, ex-minister of culture of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Sidorov; documentary filmmaker, member of the RJK Public Council Yelena Yakovich. The RJK President Yuri Kanner will deliver an opening speech. The host of the public-talk is a journalist, member of the Public Council of REC Mikhail Gurevich.
“It is a great honor for the Russian Jewish Congress to participate widely in the program of events dedicated to the anniversary of Osip Mandelstam”, - says Yuri Kanner. - This great poet belongs to all mankind, world culture. But the Jewish reflection of his work, his Jewish-Russian fate make us treat him in a special way. In addition to Mandelstam's evening, we also supported the main project for the anniversary of the poet - a permanent exhibition dedicated to him at the Museum of the History of Russian Literature on Zubovsky. The fact that before the 130th anniversary of Mandelsham there was no such exposition in Moscow, we considered it a problem that needed to be solved. This is one of the tasks of the RJC - to respond to the modern cultural situation, to respond to cultural challenges".
The public-talk will show a fragment of the documentary film by Yelena Yakovich “The Secret of Mandelstam's Archive. The story of Sonya Bogatyreva ”, as well as a video greeting from Sofia Ivich-Bogatyreva, professor at the University of Denver, to whom this film is dedicated. Video messages for the jubilee Mandelstam evening were also prepared by the poet, deputy of the Moscow City Duma Yevgeny Bunimovich and writer, leading researcher at the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yevgeny Vodolazkin.
The literary evening, which will be held in a public-talk format, will be the first this year's release of the weekly online project "5 o'clock with the Russian Jewish Congress" - an expert discussion on current topics. You can ask your question to experts in a special form at the link.
The poet's memory will also be celebrated in St. Petersburg, at the Anna Akhmatova Museum in the Fountain House. A live broadcast dedicated to his Christmas poems will begin there at 6 pm.
And on January 15, in the memorial apartment of Anna Akhmatova, the exhibition "I bet I am not dead yet" will open, reminding of the friendship of the two poets. Mandelstam again returned as a guest to the Fountain House: his caricature portrait by Nikolai Radlov was reproduced, on the table there are photographs and pages of Leaves from a Diary, a biographical essay written by Akhmatova in memory of the poet.
Mandelstam died on December 27, 1938 in a transit camp in Vladivostok, and his grave was discovered only half a century after his death. One of the main Soviet newspapers of the time, Izvestia, wrote on January 8, 1991:
“The grave of Osip Mandelstam, half a century after his death, was found by a local historian Valery Markov. She is in Vladivostok on the territory of one of the training crews of the Pacific Fleet.
Until December 1941, there was a transit camp for prisoners. Valery Markov managed to shed light on the last days of the poet's life.
Osip Mandelstam died in the camp infirmary on December 27, 1938. Until spring, he lay with other deceased unburied. Then the entire "winter pile" was buried in a mass grave...".
The search for the poet's grave in 2012 was described by the Far Eastern edition “Vostok. Media":
“In 1969 in Vladivostok, a writers' assault landed: literary figures held creative meetings with the Far East. Some of the guests (some say that it was Yevgeny Yevtushenko, others - Robert Rozhdestvensky) bought a bouquet of flowers from their grandmothers on Vtoraya Rechka and put them on the bench. “This is Mandelstam”, - he said. The fact that Osip Mandelstam died in Vladivostok did not become known immediately. The first to interrupt the conspiracy of silence was Ilya Ehrenburg. In his memoirs “People. Years. Life”, published in the early 1960s, he wrote:“ Who could interfere with this poet with a frail body and with that verse music that populates the nights? At the beginning of 1952, the Bryansk agronomist Merkulov came to me and told me how in 1940 Osip Emilievich died ten thousand kilometers from his hometown, sick, he read Petrarch's sonnets by the fire".
This was the first mention of Mandelstam's last days in print. After that, his fellow prisoners began to write letters to Ehrenburg, in which they told about the poet's stay in the camp and his last days. Ehrenburg gave them to Nadezhda Mandelstam, who collected an entire archive.
In the late 1980s, the name of Osip Mandelstam got out of the ban, his works began to be printed in millions of copies, and his biography was studied to the smallest detail..."