2005–06 Sosland Foundation Fellow Professor Rachel Feldhay Brenner
Professor Rachel Feldhay Brenner earned a Ph.D. in literature from York University, Toronto; an M.A. in English literature from Tel Aviv University; and a B.A. in English literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her fellowship at the Museum, she was Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For her Sosland Foundation Fellowship, Professor Brenner conducted research on “Holocaust Eyewitness Narratives: Issues of Transmission and Reception, the Case of Ghetto Diaries in Polish.”
In addition to publishing dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters, Professor Brenner is author of the books Inextricably Bonded: Israeli Jewish and Arab Writers Re-Visioning Culture (Wisconsin University Press, 2003); Writing as Resistance: Four Women Confronting the Holocaust: Edith Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, and Etty Hillesum (Pennsylvania State University, 1997); and two books in the field of Canadian Jewish literature. Her book Ruth Almog: the Writer and the World (in Hebrew) was forthcoming at the time of her tenure. Professor Brenner is the recipient of numerous esteemed fellowships from the Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women from Brandeis University; the Institute for Research in the Humanities from the University of Wisconsin; the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; and the National Endowment of Humanities. Professor Brenner was also awarded the Rabbi Joseph L. Baron Faculty Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Society of Jewish Learning, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
During her tenure at the Center, Professor Brenner researched diaries and personal narratives of both Polish and Polish-Jewish intellectuals during the Holocaust. She placed these texts in their historical context and examined the intersection areas of personal narratives of Jews and Poles under the German regime of terror. In her work on the writings from the ghetto and from the Aryan side, she presented a fuller picture of the relations between Jews and Poles in the situation of the Holocaust and of the occupation.