The Fixer

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The Fixer is a 1966 novel by the Jewish Bernard Malamud. It won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It also the title of a 1968 British drama film based on the novel, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

The novel provides a fictionalized version of the Beilis trial, involving Menahem Mendel Beilis, a Russian Jew accused of Jewish ritual murder in Kiev in the Russian Empire in a 1913 trial. Beilis was acquitted. The Beilis trial was widely publicized worldwide by mass media and the anti-Semitic policies of the Russian Empire were severely criticized. After his acquittal, Beilis became an enormous hero and celebrity. He and his family left Russia for a farm purchased by Baron Rothschild in Palestine. However, he later moved to the United States. Though Beilis’s fame had faded since the trial in 1913, it returned at his death. His funeral was attended by over 4,000 people. The New York Times noted that Beilis’s fellow Jews “always believed that his conduct [in resisting all pressure to implicate himself or other Jews] saved his countrymen from a pogrom.”

In the March 2006 issue (No. 9/160) of the Ukrainian Personnel Plus magazine by the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, an article - Murder Is Unveiled, the Murderer Is Unknown? - revived accusations from the Beilis Trial, stating that the jury had recognized the case as ritual murder by persons unknown, even though it had found Beilis himself not guilty.

The Fixer novel has been criticized for supposedly presenting the protagonist in ways Beilis' descendants found degrading. The author denied his protagonist was based on Beilis. The historian Albert Lindemann lamented: “By the late twentieth century, memory of the Beilis case came to be inextricably fused (and confused) with... The Fixer.”

See also

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