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Olga Kartashova

Manya Friedmann Memorial Fellowship
“The International Networks and Jewish Efforts to Prosecute Nazi Criminals in Poland”

Professional Background

Olga Kartashova is a PhD candidate in Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University. Her research focuses on Eastern European Holocaust history, and its aftermath, memory, historiography, and trials. She is currently writing her dissertation on the role of Jewish networks in postwar justice. Prior to her candidacy, Ms. Kartashova received a bachelor of arts in Polish and Jewish studies from the University of Wrocław, a master of arts in comparative history from Central European University, and a master of arts in Holocaust studies from Haifa University.

Ms. Kartashova has completed internships at Yad Vashem, the Ghetto Fighters’ House, and the Open Society Archives in Budapest. In 2020, she worked as a researcher at the Mandel Center on a project broadly devoted to genocide and justice, with a focus on legal aspects of the history of the Holocaust. In 2021, she began leading a monthly seminar on the East European and Jewish roots of international law, in cooperation with the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University, where she was a visiting fellow during 2021-2022. Ms. Kartashova was a fellow at the Center for Holocaust Studies in 2022 at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, and was also a recipient of the Claims Conference Saul Kagan Fellowship in Advanced Shoah Studies. She works with sources in Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, English, German, and Yiddish. She is also actively engaged in digital humanities work and exploring ways to incorporate technology into Holocaust research, archives, and museums.

Fellowship Research

Ms. Olga Kartashova was awarded a Manya Friedmann Memorial Fellowship for her research project, “International Networks and Jewish Efforts to Prosecute Nazi Criminals in Poland.” Her project explores how Polish Jews lobbied for human and minority rights and sought national justice before, during, and after World War II. She builds her narrative upon two main arguments. First, that there existed a continuation of the post-World War I activism of Jewish lawyers, community leaders, and individuals, which remained strong even during the war and occupation. Second, she claims that Jewish “shtadlanim” (lobbyists) who fought for minority rights, collected evidence, and testified in courts, in fact, represented the Jewish nation as a semi-autonomous group in the legal landscape of developing international criminal law and to national governments and courts.

Jewish voices in the postwar trials of Holocaust perpetrators in Poland are at the center of Ms. Kartashova’s dissertation. Her work builds upon existing research on Nazi and collaborator trials (Finder and Prusin 2018, Kornbluth 2021) and contributes a novel study of what surviving Jews understood as justice, how they approached the Polish government in their search for it, and in what ways they supported investigations and trials. It focuses on Jewish national institutions active in Poland in the late 1940s that represented survivors and served as intermediaries between them and the authorities. Ms. Kartashova claims that in circumstances of anti-Jewish hatred and a developing conflict of victimhood, Polish Jews made efforts towards achieving justice and saw Jewish institutions as legitimate representatives of victims and their families.

Residency Period: June 1–July 31, 2023