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Isaac Babel

AKA Isaak Emmanuelovich Babel

Born: 1-Jul-1894
Birthplace: Odessa, Russia
Died: 27-Jan-1940
Location of death: Lubyanka Prison, Moscow, Russia
Cause of death: Execution
Remains: Buried, Mass Grave, Donskoi Monastery Cemetery, Moscow, Russia

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Russia
Executive summary: Soviet master of short stories

Military service: Soviet Army (1919-21)

Russian short story writer Isaak Babel was first published at 15, and quickly gained a friend and mentor in Maxim Gorky. After service in the Soviet-Poland war, he wrote Red Cavalry, a collection of combat tales told with realistic brutality but interspersed with bleak but hilarious humor. By his thirties Babel was among the most well-loved writers in the Soviet Union, but his style drew suspicions of his loyalty, and he was Jewish, which among Russians of his time was generally seen as the equivalent of a different nationality. He was arrested by the secret police in 1939, charged with spying for both Austria and France, and further charged with membership in a terrorist organization. He denied everything, and no evidence of his guilt was ever produced. A year and a half after his arrest Babel was either tortured to death or executed (accounts vary) in a Soviet gulag. His writings were illegal for years after his death, but in 1954 -- thirteen years after his death -- he was declared "posthumously rehabilitated." His short stories are now, again, widely-read and well-respected.

Wife: Evgenia Gronfein Babel (painter, one daughter)
Daughter: Nathalie Babel Brown (scholar, b. 1929, d. 2005)
Wife: Antonina Pirozhkova

    Jewish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry
    Ukrainian Ancestry

Author of books:
Red Cavalry (1926, short stories)
Collected Stories (1955, short stories, posthumous)
You Must Know Everything: Stories, 1915-1937 (1969, short stories, posthumous)
Isaac Babel: The Collected Stories (1994, short stories, posthumous)
The Complete Works of Isaac Babel (2002, short stories, posthumous)

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