Night of the Murdered Poets Commemorative Program-1977 Soviet Jewry Camp Kit


“The Night of the Murdered Poets Commemorative Program” is one of many lessons and activities listed in the “1977 Soviet Jewry Camp Kit”.

After Decades of censorship and suppression, the voice of Soviet Jewish culture was finally silenced on August 12, 1952, with the murder of its leading poets, authors, and playwrights, ad the exile of 500 others. In one fell swoop, what had once been a flourishing center of Jewish culture rich with Yiddish poetry, literature, and drama, was extinguished, never again to recover.

This commemorative program is a memorial to those killed in what is now called “The Night of the Murdered Poets.” The program, a narrative containing some of the poetry that survived that night, is particularly appropriate for programs tied in with Tisha B’Av.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Have a firm understanding of the difficulties facing Jews in the former Soviet Union.
  • Understand how the “Night of the Murdered Poets” impacted Soviet Jewry.
  • Students will understand the importance of Art and Culture within the Jewish community.


Daytime program – Scenario 1

Before the Program:

1. Optional: Set up the room with memorial candles and print out poems from the program. Designate readers for the program.
2. Assign students speaking parts. Make sure to assign speaking parts for poems as well.
3. Read through the program as a class.
4. Ask the class if there is anything they would like to add to the ceremony.
5. Who will be invited?

During the Program:

1. Optional: Light memorial candles
2. Read through the program

Optional Guided Discussion:
– How is art important to culture?
– How did this night change Soviet Jewry?
– How is art and culture important to you?
– Is Jewish art and culture important to you? Why or why not?
– What would you do if it was taken away? How would you react? How would you feel?

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