Sergei Eisenstein (1898 – 1948), the great Soviet film director, was born in Riga. His father was a Jew of German origin who had converted to Russian Orthodoxy and who passed himself off as a Baltic baron. His mother was the daughter of wealthy Russian (and traditionally anti-Semitic) merchants from St Petersburg. Eisenstein’s life was full of unforeseen diversions and turns of events: Would he become an architect like his father and go into German exile in 1918? Would he be banished as a Freemason in 1925, or stay in the USA in 1932? Would he be sentenced by a special court in 1939 to be executed, like his friends Isaak Babel and Vsevolod Meyerhold? Or would he ultimately die as a Stalin Prize winner (for Ivan the Terrible, Part I) of a heart attack caused by the ban on Part II? Oksana Bulgakowa
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