2009–10 Phyllis Greenberg Heideman and Richard D. Heideman Fellowship Dr. Havi Dreifuss (Ben-Sasson)
Havi Dreifuss (Ben-Sasson) is a Mandel Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. She received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in the history of the Jewish people and a B.A. summa cum laude in psychology and the history of the Jewish people at the same institution. For her Phyllis Greenberg Heideman and Richard D. Heideman Fellowship, Dr. Dreifuss will conduct research on “Ghetto Warsaw: The Last Months/Life at the Aryan Side.”
Dr. Dreifuss is the author of We Polish Jews—Polish-Jewish Relations during the Holocaust: The Jewish Perspective (Yad Vashem Press, Forthcoming) and editor of the Hebrew version of Herman Kruk’s The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and the Camps, 1939-1944 (Yad Vashem Press, Forthcoming). She has written several book chapters and articles for scholarly publications. In her articles she addresses different aspects of daily life during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, such as Jewish existence in the face of extermination, religious leadership and religious life, and Polish-Jewish relations. Dr. Dreifuss is the recipient of fellowships and awards including the Mandel Fellowship at the Scholion Center for Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Pridan Prize from the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry and the Institute for Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Keller Foundation Prize for Academic Excellence from the Institute for Jewish Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the World Jewish Congress, and the Yaakov Katz Scholarship for Academic Excellence from the Zalman Shazr Center. She is a native speaker of Hebrew, is fluent in English, and has language skills in Polish, Yiddish and German.
During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Dreifuss will research two aspects of daily life of Polish Jewry during the Holocaust: the lives of the Jews who remained in the Warsaw ghetto in its last months (1942-1943) and the lives of Jews who escaped from ghettos and camps throughout Poland and hid among the Aryans. Academic research as well as public discourse has dealt with the life and death of the Warsaw ghetto fighters. Yet, during the months of preparation prior to the Warsaw ghetto uprising – as well as during the Warsaw ghetto uprising itself – tens of thousands of Jews remained in the Warsaw ghetto. Dr. Dreifuss will examine the religious, social, and cultural issues Jews faced while living in extreme conditions, and how these experiences affected their social and moral conduct. She will also research the daily lives of those who escaped ghettos and camps in Poland and lived among the general public on the Aryan side under false identity or in hiding. She will study their main challenges, hopes, and fears and compare the experiences of Jews in rural areas and cities. She will utilize the Museum’s extensive archival collections and other resources as well as records at the Library of Congress to complete her research and to gain a comprehensive understanding of genocide apart from its specific relevance to Jewish and European history.