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How Did the Soviet Union React to the Events of the Holocaust?

International Conference Hosted by Yad Vashem’s Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union

28 November 2019

On Monday-Tuesday, 2–3 December 2019 , Yad Vashem's Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union will host an international two day conference on “The Holocaust as Reflected in Public Discourse in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist Period, 1941-1953.” Leading international scholars of the Holocaust, will address an often less known aspect of the Holocaust: how intellectuals in the Soviet Union reacted to the tragic events taking place during that time. Discussions will focus on the reporting of the Holocaust by the Soviet Press, how information was disseminated through photography and museum exhibitions during that period and how Yiddish folklorists wrote about the Holocaust.

Experts from various academic institutions including Tel Aviv University, New York University, University of Toronto, Columbia University and Hebrew University will present their latest findings at the conference. Scholars and historians from Israel, North America and Europe will also be in attendance.

Dr. Arkadi Zeltser, Director of the Mirilashvili Center at Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research, and Institute Head Prof. Dan Michman, Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair for Holocaust Studies, will offer opening remarks. 

David Shneer (University of Colorado, Boulder) will present his lecture titled, “Grieving Women and Dead Men; Dmitri Baltermants – Early Images of Holocaust Liberation Sites, and the Tension between the Universal and the Particular. Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw) will discuss, “What Did Polish Jews in the USSR Know about the Holocaust in Poland?” Diego Rotman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will present, “The Soviet Union in Dzigan and Shumacher’s Theater.”

"Jewish intellectuals in the Soviet Union, especially those who wrote in Yiddish, deemed it their social and intellectual duty to take a public stance vis-à-vis the mass murder of Jews, information on which had been pouring in since the fall of 1941” explains Dr. Zeltser. “The conference will address such important issues, ‘Which ways did they find, in the peculiar conditions of the Soviet Union, to express their response to these unprecedented events in Jewish history?”

The conference sessions will be held in English and Hebrew, with simultaneous translation into English, Hebrew and Russian.