Krematsiia [Cremation].; Populiarnaia biblioteka po kommunal'nym voprosam [Popular library on communal questions], series I, volume VIII.

Moscow: Izdanie M. K. Kh. 1925. Octavo (16.7 × 12.8 cm). Original pictorial wrappers; 95, [2] pp. Numerous photographic reproductions. Very good. Item #4960

An early book promoting the use of cremation, by an engineer who proved one of the most prolific early Soviet writers on the logistics and purpose of cremation. A recent scholar has situated such literature in a tendency to rationalize and de-sacralize death in early Soviet culture: "Ordinary citizens and rank-and-file Communist Party members in the 1920s were the target group of propaganda promoting minimization and rationalization of burial practices and rituals, economical mass graves, and cremation. This propaganda vigorously promoted secularization of death as an aspect of everyday life, and disavowed the worship of ancestors, instilling cynical pragmatism with regard to human remains and old cemeteries instead. Old cemeteries were leveled for parks, stadiums, warehouses, and industrial areas, while the tombstones and fences were recycled for the needs of construction and industry. A special role in this process of desacralization of death was assigned to the promotion of cremation, widely propagated since the early 1920s. Given the high mortality in the country during this time, the poor performance of funeral agencies, and the acute shortage of land in city cemeteries, cremation was a solution, but it was intended to serve not only practical needs. Its main purpose was to help instill in the citizens of Soviet Russia an atheistic attitude towards death and a pragmatic and unemotional approach to the fate of their remains" (Svetlana Malysheva, "The Russian Revolution and the Instrumentalization of Death," Slavic Review, Fall 2017).

Bartel's book provides information on cremation and sanitary concerns; religious aspects; architecture and industrial design in relation to cremation; legal forensics and the 1918 Sovnarkom decree governing the procedures of burial and cremation in the new Soviet state. The photographs and illustrations show buildings, floor plans, and equipment of foreign crematories, technical diagrams, and statistics on cremation. Also included is a short bibliography on the subject.

KVK, OCLC only show the copy at Durham University.

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