Ross Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor of History & Politics at Griffith University: “For me, the most important book of the year is a co-authored work published by the nimble Melbourne publisher, Hybrid. This finely researched and brilliantly written, hugely significant and thoroughly accessible scholarly work is by Australian Jewish writers Sam Lipski & Suzanne D. Rutland – Let My People Go: The untold story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89.”
Gerard Henderson (Sydney Institute) said on Insiders, ABC – Sunday November 13, 2016: “The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Australian History was shared last Tuesday by Geoffrey Blainey and also by Sam Lipski and Suzanne Rutland in their book Let My People Go on Australia’s role in the freeing of the Soviet Jews from the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago. It’s a great story. People like Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Santamaria and most importantly Bob Hawke were involved in this. Australians don’t know much about this story but it’s a very important part of our history, where we played an important role in a big international issue.”
Read the review in The Sydney Institute Review here.
Read the review in The Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal here.
‘Thoroughly researched and superbly written, Let My People Go is a revealing and important account of human achievement against the odds.’
— Ross Fitzgerald, Weekend Australian April 4-5, 2015, p. 22
For 50 years, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union ran a campaign of repression, imprisonment, political trials and terror against its 3 million Jews. In Australia, political leaders and the Jewish community contributed significantly to the international protest movement which eventually triumphed over Moscow’s tyranny and led to the modern Exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel and other countries.
Lipski and Rutland make this largely unknown Australian story come alive with a combination of passion, personal experience and ground-breaking research.
“The struggle for the freedom of Soviet Jewry was one of the most powerful displays of strength and solidarity by the world Jewish community … even those intimately familiar with the struggle will be surprised to discover in Let My People Go how the Australian Jewish community and its leaders were among the campaign’s initiators, and how they saw it through to its successful conclusion. This is a unique testament to how a small group can play a big role in history.” —Natan Sharansky, Chairman Jewish Agency for Israel, Prisoner of Zion (1977–86)
Sam Lipski is an award-winning journalist who has written for The Australian, The Bulletin, the Jerusalem Post and the Washington Post, and was the Australian Jewish News’ Editor-in-Chief 1987-98. He is also a former TV news producer and commentator for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Nine Network. http://samlipski.com/
Suzanne D Rutland is Professor of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney and Co-ordinator of the Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture program. She was awarded an Australian Prime Ministers Centre (APMC) Fellowship, 2008-09, for this project. She has published widely on Australian Jewish history.