2004–05 Matthew Family Fellow Professor Hagit Lavsky
Professor Hagit Lavsky received a Ph.D. in Jewish contemporary history, an M.A. in contemporary Jewry and economic history, and a B.A. in history and philosophy from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her fellowship at the Museum, she was the Samuel L. and Perry Haber Chair in Post-Holocaust Studies at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, and Director of the Cherrick Center for the Study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For her Matthew Family Fellowship, Professor Lavsky researched “Jewish Migration in the Interwar Period: A Case Study of German-Jewish Emigration to Israel, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.”
Professor Lavsky is the author, editor and co-editor of numerous books including New Beginnings: Holocaust Survivors in Bergen-Belsen and the British Zone in Germany, 1945-1950 (Wayne State University Press, 2002; in Hebrew, The Magnes Press and Yad Vashem Publications, 2005) and The Foundation of Zionist Financial Policy: The Zionist Commission, 1918-1921 (Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Publications, 1980). Her book Before Catastrophe: The Distinctive Path of German Zionism, 1918-1932 (in Hebrew, The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 1990; Wayne State University Press, The Hebrew University Magnes Press, and the Leo Baeck Institute, Jerusalem, 1996) won the esteemed Arnold Wiznitzer Prize for best book of the year in the field of Jewish history. She is also the author of dozens of scholarly articles on a range of subjects relating to Jewish immigration to Palestine, pre-state Israeli society, and Zionism, among other topics. Professor Lavsky is the recipient of a number of distinguished honors for her path-breaking research, including a four-year research grant from the Israel Science Foundation to research Jewish immigration to Palestine in the first half of the 20th century using a social science based approach. She has held visiting professorships at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and New York University; was a Research Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University; and was an Honorary Research Fellow at University College of London.
During her tenure at the Museum, Professor Lavsky examined German-Jewish migration in the interwar period using a social science based model. Specifically, she studied the socio-economic characteristics of groups who emigrated to Palestine, the United States, and Britain and those who did not and address German Jewish adaptation and integration into their new host societies.