November 17, 2008
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY, AND BLAVATNIK ARCHIVE FOUNDATION HOLD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOVIET JEWRY DURING THE HOLOCAUST
NEW YORK CITY – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, the Center for Jewish History and the Blavatnik Archive Foundation are hosting an international conference, Soviet Jewish Soldiers, Jewish Resistance and Jews in the USSR during the Holocaust.
The two-day conference, November 16–17, examines the full scope of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust and its subsequent impact on Jewish identity in the former Soviet Union. Newly available archival material from the former Soviet Union has allowed scholars and historians to shed light on the fate of the approximately 5 million Jews living in the Soviet Union during the Holocaust and World War II.
“The dissolution of the Soviet Union has resulted in the opening of millions of pages of documents—many of which are now available in the Museum’s archives—which are allowing us to obtain a much richer understanding of the Holocaust,” said Paul Shapiro, director of the Center of Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The number of Jewish victims on the territory of the Soviet Union is not known precisely, but it seems certain to lie close to or in excess of 2.5 million people. A nearly equal number of Jews in the Soviet Union, however, escaped the Holocaust and many contributed actively to the defeat of Nazism. Scholars cannot afford to ignore the experiences of such a vital group. Not only ghettoization and murder, but escape, resistance and survival also differed in crucial ways in the East from experiences in central and western Europe.”
“The experience of Jews in the Soviet Union under the impact of the Nazi invasion and occupation is currently one of the most prominent frontiers in research not only about the Holocaust but about the history and culture of modern East European Jewry,” said David Engel, Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies at New York University. “NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies has long shown keen interest in both fields and has worked to promote teaching and research about them. It is delighted to join the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Center for Jewish History and the Blavatnik Archive Foundation in bringing a vital aspect of both to broader scholarly and public attention.” The Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Chair of Holocaust Studies was established in 1999 through the generosity of Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The conference features a unique panel of Soviet Jewish World War II veterans David Barsky, Alexandra Bocharova and Boris Rabiner, followed by a discussion with Holocaust scholar and United States Holocaust Memorial Council member Zvi Gitelman.
“Recognizing an important and largely unknown chapter of Jewish history, in 2006 the Blavatnik Archive undertook a long-term project to record the personal testimonies of Jewish veterans who fought in the Red Army during World War II. With over 600 video-recorded testimonies, supplemented with digitized photographs and documents, it is our goal to preserve the invaluable memories of the Jewish veterans and make available new archival materials for academic research and public inquiry,” said Julie Chervinsky, director of the Blavatnik Archive Foundation.
The conference begins Sunday, November 16, at 10a.m. at the Center for Jewish History and continues Monday, November 17, from 1 p.m. at New York University. For more details and a full schedule, visit http://www.cjh.org/event_sites/2008111617/.
This conference is made possible by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Maurice R. and Corrine P. Greenberg Fund of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, New York University and the Center for Jewish History.