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Holocaust Historians Prof. Eliyana R. Adler and Dr. Leon Saltiel Awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize

Yad Vashem awards this prestigious prize in an effort to encourage further research and in-depth writing on the subject of the Holocaust.

16 December 2021

Today, Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research awarded the prestigious International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, in memory of Benny and Tilly Joffe z"l, to Prof. Eliyana R. Adler of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Leon Saltiel of the University of Macedonia for their research in the field of Holocaust remembrance.

Eliyana R. Adler. Survival on the Margins: Polish Jewish Refugees in the Wartime Soviet Union (Harvard University Press, 2020)
Leon Saltiel. The Holocaust in Thessaloniki: Reactions to the Anti-Jewish Persecution, 1942–1943 (Routledge, 2020)

Noted finalists in the International Book Prize competition were Dr. Brigitte Ungar-Klein for Schattenexistenz Judishche U Boote in Wien, 1938-1945 (Shadow Existence of Judishche U Boats in Vienna, 1938-1945)(Picus Verlag GmbH, 2019) and Prof. Richard N. Lutjens for The Not-So-Hidden Jews of Nazi Berlin, 1941-1945 (Berghahn Books, 2019). In addition, the panel of judges found special interest in the book by Prof. James Bernauer, S.J., Jesuit Kaddish: Jesuits, Jews, and Holocaust Remembrance (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020).

For the past 11 years, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, has been awarding the prize to scholars and historians who have written important research on the subject of the Holocaust.

The winners were selected by an international panel of judges presided by the Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair in Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem Prof. Dan Michman. Other judges serving on the panel this year included Prof. (Emeritus) Konrad Kwiet (Sydney Jewish Museum, Australia), Dr. Susanne Heim (Institute for Contempary History, Germany) together with Yad Vashem Senior Academic Advisor Prof. Dina Porat and Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem.

Remarks from the Judges:

Prof. Michman explains:

"Prof. Adler's book is dedicated to the complex subject of the Polish refugees who survived the Holocaust in the Soviet interior. Adler begins with a detailed look at the process through which Polish Jews found themselves in the USSR and probably saved many of their lives. The book makes a significant contribution to Holocaust research by presenting a comprehensive and moving picture of the fate of who survived at the Soviet margins from their point of view. It is the first book to provide an in-depth study of how Polish Jewish refugees survived the war in the Soviet Union, and tells their story from a personal perspective."

Michman expounds:

"Dr. Saltiel's book makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki in particular and in Greece more broadly. The book examines the attitudes and actions of authorities  ̶  of the Church; the courts and the local university; of professional associations; of the Red Cross representative; and of the Jews themselves – local Thessaloniki ones and Jews in Athens. After the methodological introduction, Saltiel opens the narrative with a description of the destruction of the Jewish cemetery, which was an act of dehumanizing the dead in general, but was more symbolically an act of erasing the memory of Jewish presence in a central site in the city."