Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Children of immigrants-Psychology, Jews, Soviet-United States-Psychology, Intergenerational communication-Psychological aspects, Jews-Soviet Union-Social conditions-20th century, Soviet Union-Emigration and immigration, United States-Emigration and immigration, Emigration and immigration-Psychological aspects, Soviet Union, Emigration, Narratives, Russia, Immigration, Transgenerational transmission


This qualitative study explores the stories told by Former Soviet Union (FSU) Jewish émigré parents to their American-reared children about their experiences of life in the FSU and their reasons for emigration. Specifically, this study examines whether the stories transmitted reflect the mass oppression, suppression and state-sponsored brutality exacted upon Soviet Jews. The sample consisted of twelve participants between the ages of 18-35, all of whom had at least one parent who emigrated from the FSU. The analysis revealed the following noteworthy findings: 1) All twelve participants inherited stories depicting the collective discrimination that Jews were forced to endure under the Soviet regime; 2) The narratives of Central Asian Jews reflected a more positive association with the FSU than did the accounts transmitted by Eastern-European Jews, suggesting critical regional and cultural differences despite their mutually shared identity as FSU Jewish émigrés; 3) The transmission of the collective discrimination imposed upon the Jewish population in Soviet Russia and the personal implications of Soviet Anti-Semitism for their parents was influential in shaping the participants' identity; (4) The narratives were communicated both directly and indirectly and shared often, suggesting the prevalence of such a practice among FSU Jewish families in the United States; (5) The participants' parents' explicit communication of their expectations implicitly told the story of their lives in the FSU and their reasons for emigration; (6) These expectations were communicated with an intensity and drive that was often internalized by the American-reared children.




iii, 90 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 75-77)