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At the end of the nineteenth century, close to 95 percent of the 5.

In early , the Pale of Settlement was abolished, permitting Jews to live where they wished in the former Russian Empire. A photograph by Roman Vishniac — , ca. This and similar photographs taken by Vishniac are among the few visual testimonies to the life of Jews in eastern Europe during this period.

Kyle Catlett in "The Pale of Settlement"

The vast majority of the millions of Jews who lived in eastern Europe perished during the Holocaust. The whole production took me a year and a half to prepare given the intensity of the shoot. It was a challenge to figure out how to get everything up the mountain and back down again without exhausting the crew in the first few days, to keep the actors comfortable in such a harsh environment, complete all my shots given the small window of daylight in the winter, coordinate with the train company to film the train coming around the bend at just the right moment, and blocking the horses for a chase sequence.

The Jewish Dark Continent:Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement

Producing the film was by far the biggest challenge I have ever dealt with as a filmmaker. You shot this film in New Hampshire. The cabin that worked the best for the time period of the film was in Northern New Hampshire as there were very few indicators of twenty-first century life. On top of that it had a perfect backdrop of the White Mountains, which worked extremely well as a substitute for the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe.

The Jewish Dark Continent — Nathaniel Deutsch | Harvard University Press

The combination of the beautiful landscapes, similarity to actual location, and the fact that I had gotten permission from the location owner to shoot there for free sold me instantly on the idea of shooting in New Hampshire. What advice have you got for a filmmaker who is about to shoot their first short film?

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Pay attention to everything that you do and the outcome of that action because the process of making your first short film is one of the most important lessons you will ever get in filmmaking. I would say it is common for young filmmakers to be so emotionally involved in the production process that they often do not realize what exactly it was that they did wrong.


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  • Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement.

They allow the stress of the situation to override their analytical processes. It is of the utmost importance to look at everything that happens as a lesson, because it would be very unfortunate to have gone through this process and not have learned from it at every step of the way. In one could still have hope that the pale settlement zone will be abolished. However, the rise of the general moods inspired by the Black Hundreds movement resulted in the fact that raising this question in the Duma Russian assembly was nothing more but a demonstration.

Before the Bolsheviks, this man abolished Russia’s Pale of Settlement

The end to this order was brought by the outbreak of the WWI and Russian losses. As early as in August maintaining the zone proved to be utterly unrealistic in the face of evacuations and mass exodus of people desperately trying to avoid approaching front.


  1. Pale of Settlement - Wikipedia?
  2. Definition of Pale of Settlement;
  3. Human Geographies Within the Pale of Settlement | SpringerLink.
  4. This situation was accepted by the Ministers of Interior issuing appropriate decrees. Evaluation of the role pale settlement zone played in the history of the Jewish people is a daunting task. Living conditions in the zone were without any doubt very tough, especially for the poor.