Julia Wiener (July 22, 1935, Moscow – February 13, 2022, Jerusalem) was a bilingual writer, poet, scriptwriter, and translator. She said about herself: “I had lived the first half of my life as a Jew in the USSR and the second half of it as a Russian in Israel.” In the USSR, she earned her living by scriptwriting for Moscow TV; later, later by doing literary translations. She emigrated to Israel in 1971. She wrote and published both poetry and prose. She translated poetry and fiction from Hebrew, English, French, German, Polish, and Dutch. She was married to Johannes Hendrik Fernhout (1913—1987), a Dutch filmmaker, until his death in 1987.
Titles of her books (in Russian): «Снег в Гефсиманском саду», «На воздушном шаре — туда и обратно», «Собака и её хозяйка», «Смерть в доме творчества», «Былое и выдумки», «Красный адамант», «О деньгах, о старости, о смерти», «Место для жизни. Квартирные рассказы».
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.