Jewish woman artisans in the Ukrainian SSR in 1920s: fight or adapt?

Main Article Content

T. Perga


Introduction. The article examines the scientific problem of the participation of Jewish women in the industrial labor, in particular in handicrafts. The situation in the Ukrainian SSR in 1920s was taken as the basis for the research. Novelty. Relevance of the research is determined by the non-disclosure of this topic in the scientific works of the Ukrainian and foreign experts. Purpose of the article is to disclosure the peculiarities of the participation of Jewish women in the handicraft industry in the 1920s.

Methods. The source base of the study is the statistical data of the censuses took place in the Russian Empire and in the USSR, specialized surveys of economic activity of Jews before and after 1917, as well as archival materials. Author conducted a comparative analysis of the involvement of Jewish women in artisanship in the Russian Empire and the USSR (Ukrainian SSR).

Results. It has been concluded that the main reasons for the employed of Jewish women in handicrafts in both empires were economic. The peculiarities of work of Jewish women in handicraft production, their age and professional structure are revealed. Author made a conclusion that during the multi-vector economic policy of the Soviet government (war communism, NEP, industrialization) in the 1920s, Jewish women artisans were forced to wage a daily struggle for survival and confront many problems. They are following: arbitrariness of authorities, especially during taxation; lack of raw materials and access to public loans; high competition in the environment of artisans and with the factory industry; combination of work with raising of children; low level of education and mechanization of labor, etc. ORT provided significant assistance to artisans, but it could not meet all the needs of artisans in equipment.

Conclusions. The Soviet government’s policy on the cooperation of artisans posed a dilemma for women artisans: to unite in joint enterprises (artels) or to join the ranks of workers in various enterprises, mostly industrial. Crafts especially related to fabric processing, were abandoned mainly as additional underground earnings.

Article Details

Author Biography

T. Perga

Perga Tetiana – PhD in History, senior researcher, State Institution “Institute of World History of National Academy of Science of Ukraine”


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