2002–03 Matthew Family Fellow Professor Sara Bender
Professor Sara Bender received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the guidance of Israel Gutman and Yehuda Bauer, and an M.A. and B.A. in Jewish studies from Tel Aviv University. During her fellowship at the Museum, she was Professor of Jewish History at the University of Haifa in Israel. For her Matthew Family Fellowship, Professor Bender conducted research on “The Jews in Kielce and the Vicinity during the Second World War and the Holocaust.”
Professor Bender has done extensive research on German rescuers in occupied Poland, the Jewish youth movements in the ghettos, and forced labor camps for Jews in the Radom district. She is the author of Facing Death: The Jews of Bialystok in World War II (1939-1943) (Am Oved, 1997), published in Hebrew. She has also written many articles for scholarly publications. Professor Bender is the recipient of academic awards from such institutions as the University of Liepzig, Germany; Haifa University; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culutre, New York; Haifa University; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Yad Vashem. She presented a portion of her research on the Bialystok ghetto at the 2001 symposium on “Life and Death in the Ghettos of Nazi-Occupied Europe” at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Professor Bender was Managing Editor of Yad Vashem’s Lexicon of the Righteous among the Nations at the time of her fellowship.
During her tenure at the Museum, Professor Bender conducted research for her book project on the daily life of the Kielce ghetto and the Jewish forced labor camps Ludiwkow, Henrykow, and Hasag-Granat. She examined the Museum’s collection of captured German records from the city and districts of Kielce and the Sipo-SD headquarters in Radom, as well as other materials that she had not found in Israeli and German archives. Professor Bender utilized German, Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish sources to complete her research.