"Encounters in the East: Jewish Evacuees and Deportees in the Soviet Union during the Second World War"
Natalie Belsky is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Chicago (USA) and received a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history from New York University (USA). For her Sosland Foundation Fellowship, she conducted research for her project “Encounters in the East: Jewish Evacuees and Deportees in the Soviet Union during the Second World War.”
The author of the abstract “A Comparative Study: Local Collaboration in the Holocaust in the Ukraine and Lithuania” (2006), she has presented her work at several research conferences, including the 2012 international multidisciplinary conference “Beyond Camps and Forced Labor: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution”; the 2011 annual convention of the Association for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies; and the 2010 international research conference “Evacuation and the History of the Jews of Kazakhstan.” She was recognized as a Presidential Scholar at New York University and was a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship from 2003 through 2006. She has language skills in Russian, Spanish, German, Yiddish, and English.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Belsky examined the experiences of Jewish evacuees and deportees and the way in which the history of evacuation contributes to changing attitudes among both Jews and non-Jews in the Soviet Union in the postwar period. For her research, she drew from materials the Museum has acquired from Uzbek, Kazakh, and Russian archives and files from the State Historical Archive of the Chuvash Republic.
She also examined registration cards of Jews who were evacuated to Tashkent in order to gather demographic information related to those evacuees who escaped to Tashkent. She drew on the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee archive for letters, articles, and committee reports pertaining to the plight of Jewish evacuees. Finally, she also used collections of personal memoirs (both published and archival) and recorded testimonies, including the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s collection of interviews with individuals who were evacuated or deported to Central Asia and Siberia during the war.
Ms. Belsky was in residence at the Mandel Center from April 1 to November 30, 2012.