"‘From Soviet to Jewish’: The War Experience and the Evolution of Soviet Jewish Identity"
Oleg Budnitskii is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Academic Director of the International Center for Russian and Eastern European Jewish Studies in Moscow, and Professor of History in the Department of Jewish Studies at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University. He received a Ph.D. in historical sciences from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Russian History in Moscow, and an M.A. in history from Rostov State Pedagogical Institute in Russia. For his Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Fellowship, Professor Budnitskii conducted research for his project “‘From Soviet to Jewish’: The War Experience and Evolution of Soviet Jewish Identity.”
Professor Budnitskii is the author of Den’gi russkoi emigratsii: Kolchakovskoe zoloto. 1918-1957 (Money of the Russian Emigration: Kolchak’s Gold; Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2008); Rossiiskie evrei mezhdy krasnymi i belymi, 1917-1920 (Russian Jews between the Reds and the Whites, 1917-1920; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2005), an English translation of which is being published by the University of Pennsylvania Press; and Terrorism v rossiiskom osvoboditel’nom dvizhenii: ideologiia, etika, psikhologiia (Terrorism in the Russian Liberation Movement: Ideology, Ethics, Psychology; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2000). He has edited and contributed to many books, including, Evreiskaia emigratsiia iz Rossii 1881-2005 (Jewish Emigration from Russia, 1881-2005; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2006); Archiv evreiskoi istorii (Archive of Jewish History, vols. 1-5; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2004-2007), for which he served as editor-in-chief; Russko-evreiskaia kul’tura (Russian-Jewish Culture; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2006); Mirovoi krisis 1914-1920 godov i sud’ba vostochnoevropeiskogo evreistva (The World Crisis of 1914-1920 and the Fate of East European Jewry; Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2005); and Istoriia i cul’tura rossiiskogo I vostochnoevropeiskogo evreistva: novye istochniki, novye podhody (History and Culture of Russian and East European Jewry: New Sources, New Approaches; Moscow: Dom evreiskoi knigi, 2004).
Professor Budnitiskii is a member of the dissertation council at the Russian State University for the Humanities, serves as editor-in-chief of the Archive of Jewish History, and is on the editorial board of several scholarly journals, including Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History (University of Maryland, College Park), Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Istorik i Khudokhnik (Historian and Artist; Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow). He is the recipient of various honors and awards, including a Skirball Fellowship from the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University, a Fulbright Visiting Scholarship in the Department of History at Stanford University, a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and an IREX Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. He is the former head of the Department of Russian History at Rostov State Pedagogical University and former Professor of History at the Jewish University in Moscow.
During his tenure at the Center, Professor Budnitskii conducting research for his manuscript on Soviet Jewish identity through the lens of the Soviet Jewish military experience of World War II. He explored the ways Soviet Jews self-identified, how their wartime experience on or around the frontlines affected their attitudes toward their ethnicity and nationality, and how these factors, and others, eventually contributed to the fall of communism in the Soviet Union. Professor Budnitskii utilized the Museum’s extensive archival collections, including transcripts of oral histories of Ukrainian (Soviet) Jews from the project, “Jewish Fates-Ukraine 20th Century,” which contain stories of World War II veterans, personal collections, letters, and other documents, as well as the collection of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, which contains numerous letters of Jewish soldiers and officers of the Red Army and other materials relating to the fate of Soviet Jews from 1941-1945.
Professor Budnitskii was in residence at the Mandel Center from September 1, 2009 to May 30, 2010.