I DON'T WANT TO BE BRAVE ANYMORE by Ruth Turkow-Kaminska


Email this review


Nineteen years old in 1939, the daughter of famous Yiddish actress Ida Kaminska and common-law wife of jazz band leader Adi Rosner, Ruth Kaminska considered herself and her loved ones lucky to have fled Warsaw ahead of the Nazis and slipped over the Russian border to safety. Feelings of luck survived until 1945; during the war she and Adi toured with a musical show and lived in luxurious digs that mocked Soviet egalitarianism. With the end of the war, though, Jews found the haven hell: considered spies, Ruth and Adi are stopped at the border just one day short of repatriation to Poland. The rest is what we have gruesomely come to know. Racing cockroaches--while sleeping on mink--in the Lubyanka; Siberian winters in exile; heartbreaking attempts to penetrate Moscow for a few hours with her daughter; constant rejection and homelessness. Only Stalin's death brings on her rehabilitation; after intercession by Ilya Ehrenburg, she's allowed back in Moscow, which like all of Russia is populated by either victims or informers. Finally, in 1956, she is repatriated to Poland. Cosmopolitan and pleasure-loving, Kaminska is the echt theatre-person, and her shock at the degradation is heightened by her naivetÉ; but emotions melt in favor of survival, hurt becomes defiance, and there's no time for anything but wiliness, tactics, and dumb hope. Kaminska maintains social discriminations that often appear grotesque in a mass cell--but who knows? She was very brave indeed, that much the book makes utterly clear.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1978
Publisher: New Republic Books--dist. by Simon & Schuster