Zand, Michael

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ZAND, MICHAEL (1927– ), philologist of Persian. Zand was born in Kamenets-Podolski, but was taken to Moscow in 1930. In 1937 his father was killed during the Stalin purges. Zand studied at the University of Moscow and then, when he could not find employment because of his "background," he moved to Stalinabad (now Dushanbe), where he did research at the Tajik Academy of Sciences from 1951 to 1957. In that year, following the posthumous "rehabilitation" of his father, he returned to Moscow, where he became head of the philological department and member of the editorial board of Narody Azii i Afriki, the leading Soviet journal of Oriental studies. In 1962 he became a research worker at the Institute of Oriental Studies, U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, and in 1964 consulting editor of the Soviet Literary Encyclopedia. Having made more than one attempt to leave for Israel, he became involved in the late 1960s in the dissent movement of Soviet intellectuals and in those circles which, despite official disapproval, spread knowledge of Judaism and Israel among Jewish youth.

In 1971 Zand was detained for having led a public demonstration in Moscow of Jews desiring to leave for Israel. His detention became the object of a protest movement addressed by scholars and learned institutions in many countries to the Soviet authorities. He was allowed to leave for Israel that year and was appointed professor of Persian and Tajik literature at the Hebrew University and in 1975 was appointed head of its department of Iranian and Armenian Studies at the Institute of Oriental and African Studies.

Among Zand's publications are Six Centuries of Glory (Moscow, 1967) on the history of Persian literature (Persian translation, 1972) in English and in Hebrew; Jewish Culture in the Soviet Union (with Ch. Schmeruk, 1973); and Bukharan and Mountain Jews (with M. Altshuler and Y. Pinkash, 1973). He was editor (with A. Tartakower and M. Zahave) of Hagut Ivrit bi-Brit ha-Moaẓot, studies on Jewish themes and contributions to Hebrew literature by contemporary Russian Jewish scholars (1976). Some of his Hebrew poems, under the pseudonym Menaḥem de-Razin, were sent clandestinely from the U.S.S.R. to Israel and published there.

[Shaul Shaked]

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Zand, Michael

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