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Mr. Tomasz Frydel

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Tomasz Frydel
2019-2020 Fred and Maria Devinki Fellow

“Genocide from Below: Village Society and the Holocaust in Occupied Poland, 1939-1945”


Professional Background

Tomasz Frydel is PhD Candidate in the Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto (Canada). He received a dual Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Literature at Rutgers University and a Master of History at Brandeis University, where he studied under Antony Polonsky.

Mr. Frydel is the author of numerous publications, most recently “Powiat dębicki” [Dębica County], in Dalej jest noc. Losy Żydów w wybranych powiatach okupowanej Polski [Night Without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland] (2018) (abridged English edition forthcoming); “Judenjagd: Reassessing the Role of Ordinary Poles as Perpetrators in the Holocaust,” in Perpetrators and Perpetration of Mass Violence: Action, Motivations and Dynamics (2018); and “Ordinary Men? The Polish Police and the Holocaust in the Subcarpathian Region,” in Collaboration in Eastern Europe during World War II and the Holocaust (2019).

He is the recipient of several awards, including the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2013-2016). He likewise held fellowships through the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in 2013 (Germany) and the Claims Conference Saul Kagan Fellowship in Advanced Shoah Studies program from 2016-2018. Mr. Frydel has presented at academic conferences in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Europe. He has language skills in Polish, English, German, and Yiddish.

Fellowship Research

Mr. Frydel was awarded a 2019-2020 Fred and Maria Devinki Memorial Fellowship at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies for his research project, “Genocide from Below: Village Society and the Holocaust in Occupied Poland, 1939-1945.” Drawing primarily on postwar trials of individuals accused of collaboration from 1944-1956, his research examines village society and the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland, specifically the “third phase” of the Holocaust, namely the attempt by the Germans to destroy the remaining Polish Jews to survive Operation Reinhard in the General Government from 1942-1945. His work pays close attention to the institutional roles of local perpetrators at the village- and town-level, who were co-opted by the occupation authorities into what came to be known as the “hunt for Jews” (Judenjagd). By analyzing local structures such as village heads, village guards, an involuntary system of hostages, firemen, foresters, and the local Polish “Blue” Police, Mr. Frydel aims to contribute to a nuanced social history of genocide in Poland.

Residency Period:  September 1, 2019, through April 30, 2020