Lenin’s Jewish Ancestry on Display in Russia’s State History Museum

The following excerpt is from an AP article published in the May 24, 2011 edition of the Jerusalem Post.

Documents apparently confirming rumors that Vladimir Lenin had Jewish ancestors can now be seen at Russia’s State History Museum, AP reported on Monday.

Among the newly released documents on display at the museum is a letter written by Lenin’s sister, Anna Ulyanova, claiming that their maternal grandfather was a Jew from the Ukraine who converted to Christianity to escape persecution in the Pale of Settlement and have access to higher education, the report said.

“He came from a poor Jewish family and was, according to his baptismal certificate, the son of Moses Blank, a native of (the western Ukrainian city of) Zhitomir,” Ulyanova wrote in 1932 in a letter cited by AP.

In the letter written to Josef Stalin, who replaced Lenin after his death in 1924, Ulyanova wrote “Vladimir Ilych had always thought of Jews highly. I am very sorry that the fact of our origin — which I had suspected before — was not known during his lifetime.”

Lenin, who was born Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov in 1870, identified himself only as Russian under the czarist rule in the country, during which anti-Semitism was rampant.

He adopted the name Lenin in 1901 while in exile in Siberia.

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