New Approaches to the History of the Jews under Communism

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Source: Private Archive of Harry Farkaš

23–25 May 2017, Prague

About Programme Participants Location / Accom.

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The experience of the Jews under the Communist régimes of east-central and eastern Europe has been a hotly debated topic of historiography since the 1950s. Until the 1980s, Cold War propaganda exerted a powerful influence on most interpretations presented in articles and books published on both sides of the ‘Iron Curtain’. Moreover, most works focused both on the relationship between the régime and the Jews living under it and on the role of the Jews in the Communist/Socialist movements and the political events connected with the rise of antisemitism and emigration.

Even after the collapse of these Communist régimes, the political history and diplomatic relations between the Socialist states and the State of Israel remained the dominant topics in research on the Jews of the formerly Communist societies. Only in the last ten years or so can we observe a turn towards more complex views of Jewish experience under Communist régimes. The most inspiring and ground-breaking research done so far seems to have been especially in the area of the Jewish experience of the different parts of the former Soviet Union. One of the aims of our conference is therefore to start a dialogue between scholars focused on the Jews of the Soviet Union and those working on Jewish history in the pro-Soviet regimes of east-central and eastern Europe, because there has been, for various reasons, little cooperation between these two groups of scholars, even though their topics are interconnected.

Another aim of the conference is to provide junior scholars from Europe, especially those who come from east-central and eastern Europe, with a forum in which to discuss their research projects with top experts in the field. Many of the history departments at universities in the post-Communist region still focus on political history and adhere to the master narrative of the dominant nation. The history of the Jews under Communism is, in this context, often analysed from the perspective of the perceived (dis)loyalties of the Jews, and the highly politicized question of Jewish involvement in the Communist movement also remains dominant. All the more, then, is there a need for intense debates about new approaches and methodology free from nationalism and ideology.

Several key perspectives, we think, could help us to achieve a better understanding of the complexity of Jewish experience under the Communist régimes and thus also of the various Communist régimes and regions.

First of all, we are especially interested in contributions focused on the everyday life of the Jews, Jewish religious and secular organizations, and the possibilities of ‘being Jewish’ under the Communist régimes, which are also matters related to the legal position of the Jewish communities. Comparisons of the situations in the several countries of east-central and eastern Europe will, we believe, reveal many differences in the legal, religious, cultural, and linguistic circumstances of the Jews in the individual countries and regions. Obviously, the Jews of the Eastern bloc had no single way to express their Jewishness; there is no one particular pattern. Especially when it comes to the institutional and legal setting, the historian needs to ask to what extent the differences resulted from the diverse history of Jewish social and political life before the Communist takeovers. In other words, we also want to hear scholars address the question of the extent to which the Communist dictatorships brought change or totally new forms to Jewish institutions and activities, and also to what extent we may find continuity with Jewish life from the period before the takeovers and before the Shoah.

Second, scholars in this field mostly concentrate on the Jewish cultural and political elites in the Communist societies and therefore also on the Jews in the large cities, often the capitals. Though there is clearly a need for more research of this kind, we particularly welcome contributions that emphasize the experience of the Jews on the periphery and also Jews who did not succeed in becoming part of the elite or did not even wish to do so. This shift in perspective might well show, among other things, that the supposed religious and national assimilation and also atomization of Jewish society under a Communist régime was not as predominant as it has been claimed to be in the earlier historiography. As the research of Jeffrey Veidlinger, Gennady Estraikh, Arkadi Zeltser, Elissa Bemporad, and Valeri Dymshits suggests, Jews on the geographic or social periphery in the different parts of the Soviet Union deep in the Communist period were preserving and developing Jewish religious traditions and Yiddish culture. Research on similar topics for the countries of east-central Europe largely remains to be done.

Third, as the path-breaking work of Anna Shternshis shows, even if we consider the official Communist propaganda for and about the Jews, we must be careful to separate the intentions of the propaganda writers from how the propaganda was perceived and creatively transformed by the Jews. Among the questions of interest to us is how the official anti-fascist ideology was perceived by the Jewish communities and by individual Jews. What about the state-sponsored Yiddish publishing houses and journals which were often seen as providing unique opportunities for Yiddish journalists and writers, while, however, demanding their loyalty to the socialist State?

Fourth, from the end of the nineteenth century onwards, consciousness of world-wide connections between Jewish communities, families, and individuals increased and several international Jewish institutions were established. When, how, and to what extent did Communism attack this aspect of Jewish life, which was one of most important in the Jewish modernization process? How did the Jews try to negotiate and preserve the particular modes of their transnationalism during the Cold War and East-West political divisions?

The following topics are of particular importance for us :

  • The legal positions of the Jews of the Communist/Socialist countries of Europe and the institutional opportunities for the Jews there (including religious, cultural, educational, and charitable institutions).
  • The ways of preserving and developing ‘Jewishness’ under the Communist regimes, within and outside the official organizations, in private and in public.
  • Family and gender aspects of Jewish life under Communism.
  • Networks across the ‘Iron Curtain’ and across the state borders in the ‘Soviet bloc’.
  • Yiddish culture and education under the Communist régimes.

Among the scholars who have already agreed to participate in the conference are:

Elissa Bemporad, Queens College, New York
Valeri Dymshits, European University at St. Petersburg
Gennady Estraikh, New York University
Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw
Marcos Silber, University of Haifa
Anna Shternshis, Toronto University
Arkadi Zeltser, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

The conference will take place at Villa Lanna (http://www.vila-lanna.cz/index.html), Prague, from 23 to 25 May 2017. We are planning to publish an edited English-language volume of selected papers.

Thanks to generous funding from the European Association of Jewish Studies, the Institute of Contemporary History (of the Czech Academy of Sciences) Prague, and CEFRES, Prague, we are able to offer accommodation and meals for all the conference participants. Limited travel subventions will be available for some scholars.

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Programme in PDF here.

Tuesday 23 MAY

20.00 –20.30
Oleg Zhidkov (Jerusalem), The Jewish Movement in the USSR: New Sources and Perspectives (Video Testimonies)

Wednesday 24 MAY

9.00: Welcome

9.15–11.00: Panel I

Jewish Life, Religious Practise and Folklore under Soviet Communism I

Chair: Elissa Bemporad (New York)

Valery Dymshits (St Petersburg), The Boundaries of Illegal: Religious Practices and Shadow Economy in Soviet Jewish Life

Victoria Gerasimova (Omsk), The Jewish Community of Omsk under the Soviets, from 1940 to the 1960s: Between Tradition and Survival

Diana Dumitru (Chişinău), ‘It is Better to Live in Romania Than in the Soviet Union’: How Bessarabian Jews Tried and Frequently Failed to Become Soviet Citizens during Late Stalinism

11.00–11.15: Coffee break

11.15–13.00: Panel II

Literature and Jewish Identity

Chair: Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov (Warsaw)

Daria Vakhrushova (Düsseldorf), The Utopia of Yiddish Literature after the Revolution

Magdalena Ruta (Krakow), Nusekh Poyln and the ‘New Jewish Man’: The Image of the Jewish Communist in Yiddish Literature of Post-war Poland

Gennady Estraikh (New York), Soviet Yiddish Cultural Diplomacy, from the 1950s to 1991

13.00–14.00: Lunch

14.00–15.45: Panel III

Paths of Integration/Disintegration into the Communist Political System and Society

Chair: Michal Kopeček (Prague)

Galina Zelenina (Moscow), ‘Po Kurskoi, Kazanskoi zheleznoi doroge’: Jewish Private Life in the Moscow Oblast between Leisure, Underground Religion, and National Revival

Agata Maksimowska (Warsaw), Being Jewish in Soviet Birobidzhan

Kateřina Čapková (Prague), Centre and Periphery: Jewish Experience in Communist Czechoslovakia

15.45–16.15: Coffee

16.15–18.00: Round table

The Diversity of Jewish Experiences under Communism

Chair: Marcos Silber (Haifa)

Zvi Gitelman (Ann Arbor)
Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov (Warsaw)
Bożena Szaynok (Wrocław)
Andrea Pető (Budapest)

18.00: Dinner

20.00–21.30 Guided tour of the Prague Castle

Thursday 25 MAY

9.00–10.45: Panel IV

Jewish Identities and Ways of Life under Communism

Chair: Stephan Stach (Prague)

Anna Shternshis (Toronto), ‘I was not like everyone else’: Soviet Jewish Doctors Remember the Doctors’ Plot of 1953

Anna Koch (Southampton), ‘After Auschwitz you must take your origin seriously’: Perceptions of Jewishness among Communists of Jewish Origin in the Emerging German Democratic Republic

Kata Bohus (Frankfurt am Main), The Opposition of the Opposition: New Jewish Identities in the Samizdat of Late Communist Hungary

10.45–11.15: Coffee

11.15–13.00: Panel V

Jewish Religious Life and Folklore under Soviet Communism II

Chair: Ilana Miller (Chicago/Prague)

Ella Stiniguță (Cluj-Napoca), Mountain Jews and the Challenges of Ritual Life in the Soviet Caucasus

Mikhail Mitsel (New York), Jewish Religious Communities in Ukraine, 1945–81

Karīna Barkane (Riga), Beyond Assimilation: Jewish Religious Communities in the Latvian SSR

13.00–14.30: Lunch

14.30–15.45: Panel VI

Jewish Transnational Encounters

Chair: Katrin Steffen (Hamburg)

David Shneer (Boulder), Maintaining Collective Identity After Fascism: East Germany’s Jews, Their Transnational Networks, and East German Anti-Fascism

Eliyana R. Adler (State College/Warsaw), Strange Bedfellows: The Soviet Red Cross, Polish Jewish Refugees, and the American Joint Distribution Committee

15.45–16.15: Coffee

16.15–17.45

Concluding Round Table

Chair: Kamil Kijek (Wrocław/Prague)

Audrey Kichelewski (Strasbourg)
Elissa Bemporad (New York)
Arkadi Zeltser (Jerusalem)

 

Organizers:

Kateřina Čapková, Kamil Kijek and Stephan Stach
on behalf of the Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences

Supported by:

EAJS conference grant
Czech Science Foundation
Global Conflicts and Local Interactions, Strategy AV21
CEFRES, Prague

 

Eliyana R. Adler

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is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Program in Jewish Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, is at present a fellow at the German Historical Institute of Warsaw. Adler’s book, In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia (Wayne State University Press) received the Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies in 2011. Her current project, on which she has published several articles, examines the experiences of Polish Jews who survived World War II in the un-occupied regions of the Soviet Union.

Karīna Barkane

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is a PhD candidate in the History and Archaeology Department at the Faculty of History and Philosophy, the University of Latvia. Her doctoral research focuses on the Jewish religious life in the Latvian SSR from 1944 to 1990. She is an executive director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia and a research assistant at the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia.

Elissa Bemporad

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is the Jerry and William Ungar Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and the Holocaust at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (Indiana University Press, 2013, also in Russian), which won the National Jewish Book Award and the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History. She is currently finishing a book entitled Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets (to be published by OUP). Elissa is the co-editor of Women and Genocide (forthcoming with Indiana University Press). Her work in progress includes research for a biography of Ester Frumkin.

Kata Bohus

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is currently an International Fellow at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt am Main, where she is preparing an exhibition on Jews in Europe after the Second World War. She received her PhD from Central European University in 2014, with a dissertation on the policies of the Hungarian Communist regime towards Jews in the 1960s. She has published on the press and propaganda of the Hungarian Communist regime during the trial of Adolf Eichmann (in the Hungarian Historical Review), and her two articles on the reception of the diary of Anne Frank in Communist Hungary will soon be published in the Remembrance and Solidarity Studies Journal and an edited volume published by Oxford University Press.

Kateřina Čapková

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is a scholar at the Institute of Contemporary History, Prague, and teaches Modern Jewish History at Charles University and at NYU in Prague. Her book Czechs, Germans, Jews? National Identity and the Jews of Bohemia (Berghahn, 2012) received the Outstanding Academic Title of 2012 from Choice magazine. With Michal Frankl, she co-authored Unsichere Zuflucht (Böhlau 2012; in Czech, in 2008), a book about refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria to Czechoslovakia. She is currently working on a project comparing the Jewish experience in post-war Poland and Czechoslovakia, with a focus on Jewish families in the border regions.

Diana Dumitru

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is an Associate Professor of History and currently the head of the Department of History at Ion Creangă State University of Moldova. She has authored two books and more than twenty articles. Her second book, The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust: The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Her ‘Constructing Interethnic Conflict and Cooperation: Why Some People Harmed Jews and Others Helped Them during the Holocaust in Romania’ (co-authored with Carter Johnson, and published in World Politics) received the 2012 Mary Parker Follett Award for the best article or chapter published in the field of politics and history.

Valery Dymshits

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is a research fellow at the Petersburg Judaica Centre, European University, Saint Petersburg, and a professor at the Liberal Arts Department of Saint Petersburg State University. His chief area of research is the cultural anthropology and folklore of East European Jewry, folk and academic Jewish art, Yiddish literature, Russian-Jewish literature. In his translations or under his editing were published about 25 books and collection of articles, including Еврейские народные сказки (Jewish folk tales, St Petersburg, 1999), Штетл, XXI век (The shtetl, the 21st century, St Petersburg, 2008). He is member of editorial board of the journal Народ Книги в мире книг (The nation of the book in a world of books).

Gennady Estraikh

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is a professor at the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, where he also directs the Shvidler Project for the History of the Jews of the Soviet Union. His fields of expertise are Jewish intellectual history, Yiddish language and literature, and Soviet Jewish history. His publications include Soviet Yiddish (OUP, 1999), In Harness: Yiddish Writers’ Romance with Communism (Syracuse University Press, 2005), Yiddish in the Cold War (Legenda, 2008), and over a dozen co-edited volumes, such as 1929: Mapping the Jewish World (NYU Press, 2013), Soviet Jews in World War II (Academic Studies Press, 2014), and Children and Yiddish Literature (Legenda, 2016).

Victoria Gerasimova

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graduated from the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2009  in Moscow. In 2013, she defended her PhD thesis, ‘Converted Jews in the Russian Empire of the Eighteenth Century: Peculiarities of Sociocultural Adaptation’. In 2013, she moved to Western Siberia. At present, she works as a researcher at Omsk State University, where she heads ‘Yerusha’ archival projects on Jewish heritage in Western Siberia, particularly Omsk, Tobolsk, and Tomsk. Her research interests include Jewish communities in the Russian Empire outside the Pale of Settlement, Jewish life in the Soviet periphery, Jewish-Christian relations, conversions, and anti-Jewish violence.

Zvi Gitelman

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is Professor of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, including Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine: An Uncertain Ethnicity (Cambridge University Press, 2012), based on several thousand interviews. His most recent edited volume is The New Jewish Diaspora: Russian-speaking Immigrants in Israel, the U.S. and Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2016). His book A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present (Indiana UP, 1988, 2001) has been translated into Japanese and Russian. His current research is on World War Two and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union.

Bettina Kaibach

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received her PhD in Slavic Literatures from Heidelberg University, where she is currently teaching in the Department of Slavic Studies. She has published a number of articles on Russian, Czech, and Serbian literature, and a book on time in Russian symbolist poetry (particularly of Vladimir Solov’ev and Aleksandr Blok). She is a co-editor of the volume Images of Rupture in Civilization between East and West: The Iconography of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media (Heidelberg, 2016). In April 2016, she joined Daniela Mantovan’s research project on the Soviet-Yiddish monthly Sovetish Heymland. She is an editor for the first complete edition of Jiří Weil’s prose.

Audrey Kichelewski

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is an Assistant Professor at the Contemporary History Institute of Strasbourg University and a member of Research group on Central Europe under the supervision of Antoine Marès. She graduated with a degree in history from the École normale supérieure, Paris, and holds the agrégation in history. Her forthcoming book, based on her PhD, is entitled Survivors: Jews in Polish Society, 1945–2016. Her new project concerns the public trials of people accused of war crimes in post-war Poland, from 1946 to 1989, and the way they contributed to shape the writing and knowledge of the Second World War. She is also preparing a study on the Polish Jewish landsmanshaftn in post-war Paris, their transnational links, and their politics of memory.

Kamil Kijek

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is an Assistant Professor at the Jewish Studies Department, University of Wrocław, Poland. His publications include Dzieci modernizmu: Świadomość i socjalizacja polityczna młodzieży żydowskiej w Polsce międzywojennej (Children of modernism: The socialization and political consciousness of the Jewish youth of inter-war Poland), Wrocław, forthcoming, and ‘Was It Possible to Avoid “Hebrew Assimilation”? Hebraism, Polonization, and the Zionist “Tarbut” School System in the Last Decade of Interwar Poland’, Jewish Social Studies 21 (2016) 2. His current research project is entitled ‘A Polish Shtetl after the Holocaust? Jews in Dzierżoniów, 194550’.

Anna Koch

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is currently a Teaching Fellow in Jewish History and Culture at the University of Southampton. She received her PhD from New York University in 2015. She has held fellowships at the Center for Jewish History in New York City and the German Historical Institute in Rome. She has just completed a manuscript for a book ‘Home after Fascism: Italian and German Jews after the Holocaust’, comparing the experiences of Jews who, after 1945, resettled in Italy and what became West and East Germany. Her current research is on the lives of German Communists of Jewish origin between 1918 and 1952.

Michal Kopeček

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is head of the Department of Late- and Post-Socialism at the Institute of Contemporary History, Prague, and, since October 2016, co-director of Imre Kertész Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. He is the author of The Quest for Revolution’s Lost Meaning: The Origins of Marxist Revisionism in Central Europe, 1953–60 (in Czech, 2009, forthcoming in English) and co-author of A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe. Volume I: Negotiating Modernity in the ‘Long Nineteenth Century’ (OUP 2016), as well as co-editor of Thinking Through Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989 (CEU Press, 2015).

Agata Maksimowska

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graduated from the University of Warsaw, in the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities programme. She holds an MA in Psychology and an MA in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. Currently, she is preparing her PhD thesis at the Department of History, University of Warsaw, on post-Soviet Jewish identity and the production of ‘Jewish culture’. Her work is based on ethnographic research in Birobidzhan, Russia. From 2008 to 2011, she taught in the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, at Warsaw. She is currently working at the Karat Coalition, and coordinating a project for migrant and refugee women in Poland.

Daniela Mantovan

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has published extensively in the field of modern Yiddish literature, in particular on Yiddish Russian/Soviet authors and works of Yiddish- Russian writers translated into German and Italian. She recently edited the volume Yiddish Poets and the Soviet Union, 1917–1948 (Heidelberg, 2013), and has contributed to the volumes Uncovering the Hidden: The Works and Life of Der Nister (Oxford: Legenda, 2014) and Children and Yiddish Literature: From Early Modernity to Postmodernity (Oxford: Legenda, 2016). Her recent research project is called ‘“Sovetish Heymland” (Moskau 1961–1991): Navigationshilfe und kritischer Kommentar zu einer jiddisch-sowjetischen literarischen Zeitschrift’.

Ilana Miller

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is a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago. Her research examines how Jews negotiated challenges of representation and self-representation during the postwar period in communist Czechoslovakia and Poland. She focuses specifically on how these negotiations played out in cultural industries – literary, film, and theater. She is interested in using digital humanities methodologies, including social network mapping and data analysis, for cultural studies, and how these methodologies can shed new light on Jewish history and the lived experience of communism.

Mikhail Mitsel

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is an archivist at the Archives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in New York. In the 1980s he worked in the Kiev Fortress Museum and in the 1990s he was a researcher at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Kiev. He is the author of several books in English, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish, including Последняя глава: Агро-Джойнт в годы большого террора (The Final Chapter: Agro-Joint in the Years of the Great Terror, Kiev, 2012), The American Brother: The 'Joint' in Russia, the USSR and the CIS (co-authored with Michael Beizer; Jerusalem, 2004), Евреи Украины в 1943-1953 гг. (Jews of Ukraine in 1943-53, Kiev, 2004), and Общины иудейского вероисповедания в Украине (Киев, Львов, 1945-1981 гг.) (Jewish Religious Communities in Ukraine: Kiev, Lvov: 1945-1981, Kiev, 1998).

Jakub Mlynář

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has a PhD in sociology from Charles University, Prague. His main research interests are in the sociology of memory, narrative and identity, the history of sociology, sociological theory, and ethnomethodology. Apart from conducting research, he was, from 2010 to 2016, the coordinator of the Malach Centre for Visual History at Charles University, the main Czech access point to the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive  (http://vhaonline.usc.edu). Since October 2016, he has been a visiting post-doctoral scholar at the University of Fribourg.

Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov

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is an assistant professor in the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw. Her research interests include the history of East European Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of Yiddish culture, and Polish-Jewish relations. She recently published Mówić we własnym imieniu: Prasa jidyszowa a tworzenie żydowskiej tożsamości narodowej (do 1918 roku) (To speak on our behalf: The Yiddish press and the creation of Jewish national identity before 1918) (Warsaw, 2016). She is the recipient of the 2010 Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska Award. She was Chair of the Polish Association of Yiddish Studies from 2013 to 2016. Currently, she is working on a new edition of Emanuel Ringelblum’s notes from the Warsaw Ghetto. Photo: Grzegorz Kwolek

Andrea Pető

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is a Full Professor of the Gender Studies Department at Central European University. Her fields of expertise are comparative social- and gender history, gender and politics, women’s movements, the Holocaust and oral history. She has edited thirty volumes in English, in Hungarian and in Russian including Gender, Memory, and Judaism, Women and Holocaust: New Perspectives and Challenges,Jewish Intellectual Women in Central Europe 1860-2000, The Future of Holocaust Memorialisation. Confronting Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Homophobia Through Memory Work. Her recent monograph on Political Justice in Budapest after World War II co-authored with Ildikó Barna was published by CEU Press in 2015.

Magdalena Ruta

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is an associate professor at the Institute of Jewish Studies, the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, where she teaches Yiddish language and literature. She has edited three books: Nusech Pojln: Studia z dziejów kultury jidysz w powojennej Polsce (Nusakh Poyln: Studies in Yiddish Culture in Post-war Poland, 2008), Under the Red Banner: Yiddish Culture in the Communist Countries in the Post-war Era, co-edited with Elvira Grözinger (Wiesbaden, 2009), and the trilingual Not on the Rivers of Babylon: An Anthology of Yiddish Poetry in Post-war Poland (Cracow 2012). Her monographs include Pomiędy dwoma światami: O Kalmanie Segalu (Between Two Worlds: Kalman Segal, 2003), and Without Jews? Yiddish Literature in Post-war Poland on the Holocaust, Poland and Communism (Austeria, 2012, forthcoming in English).

Magdalena Sedlická

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is Head of the Shoah History Department in the Jewish Museum in Prague and a researcher in the project European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI). She is a PhD candidate in History at Charles University, Prague. Since 2016, she has participated in the project Inclusion of the Jewish Population into the Post-war Czechoslovak and Polish Societies, at the Institute of Contemporary History, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Her main research interest is the history of the Jews of Czechoslovakia in the twentieth century, particularly post-war Jewish history.

David Shneer

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is Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Association for Jewish Studies and is co-editor in chief of East European Jewish Affairs. He is the author or editor of several prize winning books including Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture (Cambridge, 2005) and Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (Rutgers, 2011).  He is currently writing two books, Grief: The History of the World’s First Holocaust Liberation Photograph and the Man Who Made It, and Art is My Weapon: The Radical Musical Life of Lin Jaldati, which he has made into a performance piece produced, in collaboration with Jewlia Eisenberg, by Yiddishkayt.

Anna Shternshis

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is the Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies and the director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Indiana University Press, 2006) and When Sonia Met Boris: An Oral History of Jewish Life under Stalin (OUP, 2017), and more than twenty articles on the Soviet Jews during the Second World War, Russian Jewish culture, and the post-Soviet Jewish diaspora. Together with David Shneer, she co-edits East European Jewish Affairs, the leading journal in the field of East European Jewish Studies.

Marcos Silber

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is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Jewish History, the University of Haifa. He has written on Polish-Israeli relations, migrations between the two countries, Jewish Diaspora Nationalism in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia in the early twentieth century as well as on Yiddish and Polish cinema and popular culture in inter-war Poland. With Szymon Rudnicki he has published a selection of documents on Polish-Israeli diplomatic relations, 194567 (2009, in Polish and Hebrew editions) and, in Hebrew, a book whose title translates as ‘Different Nationality, Equal Citizenship! The Efforts to Achieve Autonomy for Polish Jewry during the First World War’ (2014).

Stephan Stach

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is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History, the Academy of Science, Prague, working on a history of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and Holocaust research in the Eastern Bloc. He has co-edited volumes on inter-war Polish nationalities policy (with Chrishardt Henschel, Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung, 62/2, 2013), dissidents’ memories of the Second World War and the Holocaust (with Peter Hallama, Gegengeschichte: Zweiter Weltkrieg und Holocaust im ostmitteleuropäischen Dissens, Leipzig, 2015), and the relationship between religion and law from the early modern period to the twentieth century (with Tracie L. Wilson and Yvonne Kleinmann, Religion in the Mirror of Law, Frankfurt am Main 2016).

Katrin Steffen

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is faculty member of the Nordost-Institut, Lüneburg, a part of the University of Hamburg. She is a co-editor of Lebenswelt Ghetto: Alltag und soziales Umfeld während der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung  (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013), and To Stay or Go? Jews in Europe in the Immediate Aftermath of the Holocaust a special issue of the Jewish History Quarterly, no. 2, 2011. She has also published on the memory of the Holocaust in eastern Europe and Germany, and is currently the head of  a Polish-German research project on the commemoration of the Jews and the Germans in two Polish towns. She is on the Editorial Board of Holocaust Studies. A Journal of Culture and History.

Ella Stiniguță

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is a Ph.D. student at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She is currently at Baku State University, Azerbaijan where she is researching the Mizrahi/Mountain Jewish community of the Caucasus. Her main scholarly interests are the history of the Caucasian Jews in the Soviet Union, Mizrahi culture and identity in Israel, and the relations between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East.

Bożena Szaynok

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is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wrocław, Poland. Her publications include Pogrom Żydów w Kielcach. 4. VII 1946 r. (The Pogrom against the Jews in Kielce, on 4 July 1946; Warsaw, 1992), Osadnictwo żydowskie na Dolnym Śląsku 1945–1950 (The Jews of Lower Silesia, 1945–50; Wrocław, 2000), Poland-Israel, 1944 –1968: In the Shadow of the Past and of the Soviet Union (Warsaw, 2007, and in English, Warsaw, 2012), and Władysław Bartoszewski: Polacy – Żydzi – okupacja. Fakty. Postawy. Refleksje (an interview with Bartoszewski; Kraków, in 2016). She is a member of the Council of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Daria Vakhrushova

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is a PhD student at the University of Düsseldorf. She studied translation and translation theory at the Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and received her MA  in Yiddish Culture, Language and Literature at Düsseldorf in 2016. Her MA thesis was on the discourse on Yiddish translation in Poland and the United States in the early twentieth century. Her PhD research is on Yiddish literary and cultural projects in the Soviet Union. Her main areas of interest are Yiddish literary criticism and translation theory and criticism.

Galina Zelenina

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is an associate professor at the Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies, Russian State University of the Humanities, Moscow. She is the author of От скипетра Иуды к жезлу шутапридворные евреи в средневековой Испании (Moscow 2007) on court Jews in medieval Spain, and has another book on Conversos and the Spanish inquisition in print. Her recent publications include a book on the revival of Jewish studies in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia (in Russian, 2015) and a contribution to Judaism after the USSR: Old and New, Religious and National, a special issue of Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov' v Rossii i za rubezhom (State, Religion, and Church in Russia and Worldwide), 33, 2015.

Arkadi Zeltser

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is currently Director of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, at the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. He is the author of a books about the Jews of the Soviet Vitebsk and the Shtetls, 1917–41 (published in Russian in Moscow in 2006) and an editor of To Pour Out My Bitter Soul: Letters form the USSR 1941–1945 (Yad Vashem, 2016). His book ‘Memory in the Monuments: Soviet Jewish Identities and the Holocaust’ is currently being prepared for publishing by Yad Vashem. He is also a contributor to ‘Stalinist Socialism, 1929–39’ a forthcoming volume of ‘A Comprehensive History of the Jews of the Soviet Union’, an NYU project.

Oleg Zhidkov

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is a PhD student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His research is on Jewish history in the Cossack Hetmanate from 1649 to 1744, with a focus on the business activities of Jewish merchants and leaseholders. In 2015–16, he participated in ‘The Jewish Movement in the USSR, 1948–1991’, a project run by Professor Yaacov Ro’i of Tel Aviv University. From 2013 to 2016, he took part in the project ‚‘The “Tarbut” Educational System in Central and Eastern Europe in the Inter-War Period’, headed by Professor Mordechai Zalkin of Ben-Gurion University. He currently works in the Cataloguing Department at the Yad Vashem Archives.

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The conference takes place in Villa Lanna, participants will be accommodated there.

http://www.vila-lanna.cz

V Sadech 1
Prague  6
phone: +420 224 321 278

How to get there

From the airport
At the bus stop for the 119 bus, just outside the airport front doors, buy a 32-crown ticket from the yellow-orange ticket machine; it will cover for 90 minutes of travel by bus, tram, and Metro (underground) in Prague.  Take the 119 bus to the Nádraží Veleslavín Metro station, then go down the stairs to the Metro, and travel to the station Hradčanská. Villa Lanna is a ten-minute from the Hradčanská station (see below).

From the train or the coach station
Trains arrive at Prague Main Station (Praha Hlavní nádraží). From a yellow-orange ticket machine, buy a basic ticket for 32 crowns for 90 minutes of travel by all means of transport in Prague.

Enter the Metro directly at the train station, travel one station to Muzeum, and change onto the green line, which will take you to Hradčanská (the last stop before the Dejvice terminus). If travelling by coach, the Florenc bus station has its own Metro station: get onto the red line and change at Muzeum for the green line to Hradčanská.  Villa Lanna is a ten-minute from the Hradčanská station (see below).

The ten-minute walk from Hradčanská station to Villa Lanna
Head for the ‘Bubenečská’ exit, walk straight down Bubenečská Street. At Ronald Reagan Street, with the US Ambassador’s residence on the corner, turn right. At the end of the street, turn left into Pelléova Street. At the end of this street, you’ll see Villa Lanna.

For further tram and Metro information, including timetables and trip planning, visit the Prague Public Transport website .

Košík