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Dr. Anna Cichopek-Gajraj

Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow
"In Transit: Global Migrations of Polish-Jewish and Ethnic Polish Families after WWII (1940s-1950s)"

Professional Background

Dr. Anna Cichopek-Gajraj, a native of Kraków, Poland, is Associate Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. She received her PhD in History from the University of Michigan, as well as a Master’s Degree in History from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her research focuses on Polish-Jewish relations, antisemitism, and ethnic violence in Poland and in Polish-Jewish diaspora after the Holocaust.

She is an author of two books on postwar Polish-Jewish history. Her most recent publication, Beyond Violence: Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia in 1944-1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2014), is a comparative study of the non-Jewish/Jewish relations in Poland and Slovakia after the Second World War. The book was the 2016 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Finalist (2nd place) and a recipient of the 2015 Barbara Heldt Prize Honorable Mention. Her first book Pogrom Żydów w Krakowie 11 sierpnia 1945 r, a case study of the pogrom in Kraków in August 1945, was based on her awarded MA thesis and published by the Jewish Historical Institute in Polish in 2000.

Fellowship Research

In addition, Dr. Cichopek-Gajraj is a recipient of the 2016 Shofar Zakhor Award from the Phoenix Holocaust Survivors' Association for “exhibiting and carrying the work of Holocaust education, Holocaust remembrance, and community interaction.” She has also received grants and fellowships from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. (as part of the 2005-2006 cohort), the YIVO Institute, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture in New York, among others.

Dr. Cichopek-Gajraj received a 2020-2021 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship to conduct research on her new book project, tentatively entitled, In Transit: Global Migrations of Polish-Jewish and Ethnic Polish Families after WWII (1940s-1950s). The study follows the migratory experiences of ethnic Polish and Jewish families from Poland in the aftermath of the Second World War. It focuses on their agency–choices and decisions–at the time of their displacement, showcasing improvisation and creative action, at times outside legal bounds, to find new homes. Their agency is placed within gendered family dynamics and the broader social, cultural, and economic contexts.

Residency Period: January 1 through April 30, 2021