“Jewish Émigré Writers under Vichy”
Dr. Julia Elsky is Assistant Professor of French at Loyola University Chicago. She holds a PhD in French from Yale University and a BA in French from Barnard College.
Dr. Elsky has published several articles on émigré writers and Jewish identity in France, as well as on the legacy of the Second World War in the Theater of the Absurd, in publications including PMLA, Yale French Studies, and Archives Juives. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Volkswagen Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), the Whiting Foundation Fellowship, the Bourse Chateaubriand from the French government, and the Fox International Fellowship from Yale University.
Dr. Elsky was awarded a 2019-2020 Sosland Fellowship at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies for her research project, “Jewish Émigré Writers under Vichy.” For this project, her research focuses on the Museum’s rich archival holdings related to French Jewish communities and the fate of Jewish immigrants in France under the Occupation. Her project studies the wartime experience of Jewish Eastern European émigré writers who came to France in the 1920s and adopted French as their literary language. When these writers faced double exclusion under Nazi Occupation, both as foreigners and as Jews, they began to re-examine, and in some cases, reassert their role in the French nation through their literature in French. They depicted key aspects of the war experience in French and in ways that contest the boundaries between foreignness and belonging, using the language to express hybrid and shifting cultural, religious, and linguistic identities.