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Galicia in Interwar Yiddish Travelogues
Marketplace at Brody (1914), Ukraine. The National Library of Poland, Public Domain

Galicia in Interwar Yiddish Travelogues

"Looking for Yiddishland": Vladyslava Moskalets, Ph.D.

Galicia in Interwar Yiddish Travelogues

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Ukrainian-Jewish Voices Series

Since the late eighteenth century, writers, philosophers, and politicians of various ethnic and social backgrounds have been discovering and rediscovering Austrian Galicia. After Galicia officially ceased to exist in the interwar period, the region still retained significance, both for those who longed for the return of an Austrian Empire and those who tried to envision the future of a new Polish state. Galicia remained distinct in the public consciousness, somehow exotic and intriguing.

In the 1920s, Polish Jewish writers and journalists, such as Yoel Mastboym, Chone Gottesfeld, Leibush Draikurs, Nachman Meisel, and Israel Joshua Singer, all traveled to Galicia. They wrote dispatches in Yiddish for major newspapers, such as Der Moment, Literarishe Bleter, and Forverts ("The Forward"). They were looking for signs of “traditional Jewish life” inspired by Hasidic culture, but were disappointed to find only rampant misery, struggle, and widespread neglect of Jewish material culture. The general destruction of Yiddish life is the recurring theme that surfaces in their writings.

These authors, generally non-Galician by origin, observed distinct Jewish communities, including Hasidim, Jewish workers, Jewish peasants, late adherents of the Frankist movement, and even the remnants of a broken Jewish nobility. Unlike German writers such as Joseph Roth or Alfred Doeblin, Polish Yiddishists considered the region an ethnographic curiosity, and hoped to reorganize Galician Jewish life through their literary activism. The lecture will explore these Yiddish travelogues to Galicia as a rediscovered "Yiddishland".

Vladyslava Moskalets is a historian and lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv) and researcher at the Center for Urban History (Lviv). In 2011-2012, Vladyslava was a Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a grantee of the Ludmer program by the Jewish Galicia and Bukovina Organization. Vladyslava received a PhD in history in 2017 from Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Vladyslava was an external collegiate at the Doktoratskolleg Galizien program (University of Vienna) in 2013-2016. She was a Fellow of the Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations (March-May 2016) as well as a Fulbright Scholar Fellow (2018-2019) at Northwestern University, Chicago. Since 2016, she has been teaching courses related to Ukrainian and Jewish history of the 19th century, consumption history, and Hebrew. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of History of the Ukrainian Catholic University and coordinator of the Jewish Studies program.

Sunday, May 15, 8 pm Israel / 7 pm CET / 6 pm UK / 1 pm EST



Sunday May 15th 14 Iyar 08:00 - 09:00


Vladyslava Moskalets


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General public





Marketplace at Brody (1914), Ukraine. The National Library of Poland, Public Domain