The Siberian Odyssey of Polish Jews
22 September 2020 - 6 PM
Lidia Zessin-Jurek, Katharina Friedla (Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague; Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw)
The great majority of Polish Jews who survived the Nazi genocide did so in the interior of the Soviet Union. For their Christian countrymen, World War II forced deportations into the heart of chilly Russia is but one episode in the chain of repressions by their eastern neighbour. However, that same repression increased the chances of survival for Poles of Jewish origin who, as it turned out, were escaping the Holocaust. Since most of Polish Jews who experienced the war in the USSR did not remain in Poland their wartime experiences have, for the most part, fallen into oblivion. Lidia Zessin-Jurek and Katharina Friedla present their edited volume which tackles both the experience of the Siberian Odyssey of Polish Jews and the complicated memory surrounding this inadvertent shelter.