Jeff and Toby Herr Fellowship Dr. Volha Bartash
Dr. Volha Bartash received her PhD in anthropology from the K. Krapiva Institute of Study of Arts, Ethnography, and Folklore at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (Belarus) in 2011. Dr. Bartash’s dissertation is titled Family relationships and social organization of Roma in Belarus in the second half of the 20th – the beginning of the 21st century.
While in residence at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Dr. Bartash will be working on her project entitled “Family Memories as Sources for Holocaust Studies: Daily Life and Survival Practices of the Roma in Belarusian-Lithuanian Border Region under National Socialist Occupation.”
Dr. Bartash speaks Belarusian and Russian natively, English fluently, and possesses skills in German, Polish, Romani, and French.
Dr. Bartash’s monograph entitled Kultura Romaŭ Belarusi: ėtnalagichnae dasledvanne (Romani Culture in Belarus: Ethnological Study) is forthcoming. She has recently published several articles including: “Von welchen Roma stammt ihr?“ Antworten auf die Frage nach der Identität belarussischer Zigeuner” for Bunte Flecken in Weißrußland. Erinnerungsorte zwischen polnisch-litauischer Union und russisch-sowjetischem Imperium (2013), “From which Roma you are, or where are you from? Gypsies´ identities in contemporary Belarus” for Romani V. Papers from the Annual Meeting of the Gypsy Lore Society, Grazer Romani Publikationen 2 (2013) and “Obschestvennye tradicii Tsygan Belarusi (Public traditions of Belarusian Roma)” for Vesnik Belaruskaga Dziarzhaŭnaga Universitėta (Journal of the Belarusian State University, 2009). Recent lectures from Dr. Bartash include: “Roma as a Transnational Community,” at the European Center for Minorities Issues workshop Borders and Minorities in 2012; “Ethnic Identities of Gypsies (Roma) in Belarus and Neighboring Countries,” at the University of Giessen in 2011; and “The Concepts of Honor and Profanation in Family Life and Social Structure of Roma in Belarus,” for the 2009 Forum Tsiganologischer Forschung Workshop.
For her Jeff and Toby Herr Fellowship in the Mandel Center, Dr. Bartash will use the Museum’s extensive photo and document collections to supplement her research on the Nazi genocide of Roma, specifically how they survived, who were the most vulnerable members of the Roma community, and how inter-ethnic relations may have impacted the fate of Roma during the Nazi occupation. The questions Dr. Bartash wishes to answer during her time at the Center include: How did Roma first react to their Nazi occupiers and when did they realize that they were to be exterminated? Who were the defenseless members of the Roma community and why? And what sites in the Belarusian-Lithuanian borderlands are memorable to the remaining Roma? Dr. Bartash wishes to use oral histories of survivors along with information gathered at the Center to prepare an expanded memoir.
Dr. Volha Bartash will be in residence at the Center through October 31, 2014. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.