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Conscious History
Image: Students in the front of Jewish Studies Institute, Warsaw (1938) | Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw (sygn. ŻIH-XX-10 074)

Conscious History

Polish Jewish Historians Before the Holocaust

Conscious History
Free

The event has passed

Prof. Natalia Aleksiun

In my talk, I will explore the cohort of university-educated Polish-Jewish historians active before the Holocaust: their lives and their self-conscious deployment of historical writing. Were they successful in carrying out their mission? As a collective biography, I will situate the academic and popular work of these historians in the context of the time in which they lived, while resisting the impulse to understand and explain their experiences in the light of the tragic fate that befell many of them and their communities.

In the eyes of Polish-Jewish historians – history offered hope for a better future, they saw history as a political tool. In researching the Polish-Jewish past, these men and women searched for a “usable past”, deeply embedded in communal life and animated by a broader positive vision of Polish Jews’ rights and place in Poland. They undertook a complex project of building a conscious Jewish community, encompassing both a strong sense of Jewish identity and a close affinity with the Polish past.

Natalia Aleksiun, Harry Rich Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida

Aleksiun specializes in the social history of Jews in East Central Europe. She has written extensively on the history of the Jewish intelligentsia, Polish-Jewish relations, modern Jewish historiography, the history of medicine and the Holocaust.

She holds doctoral degrees from Warsaw University and NYU and specializes in the social, political, and cultural history of modern East European and Polish Jewry. She has published widely in English, Polish, and Hebrew. In addition to her 2021 study Conscious History, she is the author of Where To? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944–1950. She has edited several volumes: Gerszon Taffet’s Destruction of Żółkiew Jews; Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 29: Writing Jewish History in Eastern Europe and European Holocaust Studies: (Places, Spaces and Voids in the Holocaust). Currently, Aleksiun is a senior research fellow at the Polish Institute of Advanced Studies in Warsaw, completing two books: “Hidden Lives” - a social history of Jews who lived in hiding in Eastern Galicia and "The Anatomy of Antisemitism: Jews and Cadavers in East Central Europe before the Holocaust". She serves as co-editor of East European Jewish Affairs.

Monday, January 31, 8 pm Israel / 7 pm CET / 6 pm UK / 1 pm EST

When?

Monday January 31st 29 Shevat 08:00 - 09:00

Participants

Prof. Natalia Aleksiun

Where?

Online Zoom Event Map

For whom?

General public, Researchers

Language

English

Price

Free

Image: Students in the front of Jewish Studies Institute, Warsaw (1938) | Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw (sygn. ŻIH-XX-10 074)