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Dr. Volha Bartash

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Dr. Volha Bartash
2013-2014 Jeff and Toby Herr Fellowship

“Family Memories as Sources for Holocaust Studies: Daily Life and Survival Practices of the Roma in Belarusian-Lithuanian Border Region under National Socialist Occupation.”

Professional Background

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 conducted research on her project, “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, 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.

Fellowship Research

For her Jeff and Toby Herr Fellowship in the Mandel Center, Dr. Bartash used the Museum’s extensive photo and document collections to supplement her research on the Nazi genocide of Roma. The questions Dr. Bartash wished to answer during her time at the Center include: How did Roma first react to the Nazi occupation 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. Volha Bartash was in residence at the Center through June 1 to October 31, 2014.