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Book Talk: The Yiddish Historians and the Struggle for a Jewish History of the Holocaust

Hosted By: YIVO

Historians began writing the history of the Holocaust in Yiddish from a distinctly Jewish perspective in the years immediately after World War II. These Yiddish historians studied the Holocaust from the perspective of its Jewish victims, rather than that of the Nazi perpetrators, examining daily life in the ghettos and camps, and stressing the importance of survivor testimonies, eyewitness accounts, and memoirs. Above all, they redefined “resistance” to include the many ways Jews struggled to remain alive under Nazi occupation. Mark Smith chronicles and contextualizes this largely overlooked yet significant set of scholars in his recently published work, The Yiddish Historians and the Struggle for a Jewish History of the Holocaust.

Join Mark Smith and Samuel Kassow for this important, eye-opening conversation on Holocaust historiography.

The event listed here is hosted by a third party. My Jewish Learning/70 Faces Media is not responsible for its content or for errors in the listing.


Mark L. Smith

Mark L. Smith is the author of The Yiddish Historians and the Struggle for a Jewish History of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2019), which was named a National Jewish Book Award finalist and is now in paperback. He has taught Jewish history at UCLA, where he received his PhD in Jewish history in 2016. He writes and lectures on East European Jewish history and culture, with a special interest in Holocaust historiography and Yiddish scholarly writing. His work has also been featured and reviewed in the Yiddish-language Forverts. He is currently Resident Scholar at American Jewish University, Los Angeles.
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Samuel D. Kassow

Samuel D. Kassow is the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, and is recognized as one of the world’s leading scholars on the Holocaust and the Jews of Poland. He is widely known for his 2007 book, Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive (Indiana University Press). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, has won numerous awards, and has lectured widely.
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The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is dedicated to the preservation and study of the history and culture of Eastern European Jewry and Yiddish language.
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