Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia: Der Emes, 1930. Item #1216
112 pp.: ill. 18x13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Minor tears of the spine, otherwise near fine.
First and only edition. One of 10 100 copies.
The good evidence of the fact that an Yiddish printing shop ‘Der Emes’ was involved in publishing official orders of Russian printed materials as well. For instance, this children’s book promoted re-education of street children by the Red Army.
By the mid-1920s, the Soviet state was forced to realize that its resources for orphanages were inadequate, that it lacked the capacity to raise and educate the USSR’s stray children. The Soviet state accepted different solutions to decrease a huge number of orphans and homeless children. Labor communes were established, night shelters were used and foster care by private families was promoted. This book told about an input of the Red Army which partially carried out a mission of social upbringing. In 1928-1929, some Leningrad military units “adopted” 2000 children from orphanages who studied to perform musical duties for the armed forces and joined local workshops.
An unknown artist was attracted to design the book, but the covers feature an interesting two-color artwork that resembles futurist editions of the 1910s, thanks to contrasting and naive mixture of green and red images. Inside, small drawings of street children were spread all over the double title page and laconic half-page illustrations were printed in the text.
In 1931, Minsk department of Tsentrizdat (The central publishing house of the peoples of USSR) issued an Yiddish edition of this book. It included the same illustrations but didn’t credit the artist as well.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.
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