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Marking 70 Years Since Operation Barbarossa: The Invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany

3 daylong symposiums to be held throughout the year at Yad Vashem

15 June 2011

Marking 70 years since the German Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa), the Center for Research on the History of Soviet Jews during the Holocaust at Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research will hold a daylong symposium exploring the invasion as an ideological war. The Symposium will take place at the Yad Vashem Auditorium on Monday, June 20, 2011, in Hebrew and Russian. It is open to the public. The Symposium is taking place with the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the European Jewish Fund, and the Gutwirth Family Fund.

The International Institute for Holocaust Research will hold an additional two symposia, exploring different aspects of “Operation Barbarossa.” In the fall of 2011, the Institute will examine how the beginning of the mass murder of Jews accompanied difficulties the German army experienced during their advance eastwards, with a particular focus on Lithuania and Serbia. In spring 2012, a symposium will address the Wannsee conference, and the expansion of the mass murder westwards.

At next week’s event, historians will discuss political, economic and ideological aspects of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and its critical and destructive impact on the Jews living in those areas, the Wehrmacht’s role in the murder of Jews in the first months of the Eastern front war, and the Jews’ mistaken beliefs in the great military power of the Red Army and that antisemitism among Soviet citizens was a matter of the past. Among the lecturers will be Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a former partisan, chairman of Yad Vashem (emeritus) and world-renowned researcher on the Holocaust on the eastern front. Dr. Yevgeniy Rozenblat, a researcher from Belarus will speak about the relationships between Poles, Belarusians, and Jews in the first months of the war. Prof. Mordechai Altshuler of the Hebrew University will address the shattering of myths amid Soviet Jewry. New material from Yad Vashem’s The Untold Stories: The Murder Sites of the Jews in the Occupied Territories of the USSR Research Project will also be presented. The full program is attached, in Hebrew and Russian.

Also marking 70 years since the invasion of the Soviet Union, the International Institute's Center for Research on the History of Soviet Jews during the Holocaust, supported by the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the European Jewish Fund, has uploaded the first stage of its bibliographic database (db.yadvashem.org/bibliography/listResult.do). The Database contains over 3,300 titles, including 700 articles, on Jewish history in the areas of the Former Soviet Union, and will be updated regularly.