- NAME: Isaak Babel
- OCCUPATION: Author, Playwright
- BIRTH DATE: July 13, 1894
- DEATH DATE: January 27, 1940
- Did You Know?: Isaak Babel was executed by Stalin's secret police in 1940, and his work was not published in its original versions again until the 1990s.
- EDUCATION: Count Witte Commercial School, Kiev Commercial Institute, Petrograd Psycho-Neurological Institute, Nicholas I Odessa Commercial School No. 1
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Odessa, Ukraine
- PLACE OF DEATH: Butyrka prison, Moscow, Russia
- Full Name: Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel
- AKA: Isaac Babel
- Originally: Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel
- AKA: Isaak Babel
- AKA: Isaac Emmanuilovich Babel
Best Known For
Jewish-Ukrainian Isaak Babel, whose tales of the Russian army and ghetto life made him a famous author in the 1920s, was discredited by the Soviet authorities and put to death in 1940.
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Later in the 1930s, he wrote a play titled Maria (1935) and four novellas, including "The Trial" and "The Kiss."
As the decade progressed, Babel's activities and written works were monitored closely by critics and censors for any hints of disloyalty to the Soviet government. Babel traveled frequently to France (where his estranged wife and daughter, Nathalie, lived), wrote less and spent much time in isolation during these years. His friend and greatest ally, Gorky, died in 1936.
Like many of his contemporaries, Babel was persecuted in the "great purges" conducted under Joseph Stalin in the late 1930s. He was arrested by the Soviet secret police in May 1939, at the age of 45, and was charged with belonging to anti-Soviet political organizations and terrorist groups and serving as a spy for France and Austria. (His affair with Evgeniya Gladun-Khayutina, the wife of the head of the secret police, was likely a contributing factor to his arrest.) Though Babel appealed the charges and tried to revoke the testimony he'd given under torture, he was executed on January 27, 1940.
After Stalin's death in 1953, Babel's name was cleared and his writing was rehabilitated. His work was gradually published again in the Soviet Union and even in foreign countries. He continues to influence short-story writers around the world.
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