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Ukrainian-Jewish Relations Between the World Wars

Hosted By: YIVO

By the end of the First World War, antisemitism became a moral and political marker of social consciousness as well as a behavior of many right-wing politicians as anti-Jewish discourse was actively imposed in many post-imperial states in Eastern and Central Europe. At the same time, the newly created Ukrainian states (both the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR)) attempted to provide a positive policy toward the Jews and proposed a new anti-imperial alternative to the harsh legacy of imperial and post-imperial, great-power chauvinist policy. After the UNR and ZUNR leadership ceased to control the territory and effectively influence inter-ethnic relations within the borders of their state, relations between Ukrainians and Jews worsened, and were deformed under the impact of the conditions and policies of other states, in which these two peoples existed.

In this presentation, Andrii Bolianovskyi will elucidate the key figures and main aspects of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, as well as the intervention of “transnational players” in a broad global geopolitical context. Considerable attention will be paid to clarifying the positive experience of relations and highlighting the history of attempts to establish mechanisms of interaction between Ukrainian and Jewish political, public and other organizations and social groups in Western Ukraine. Also considered is the impact of the politics of the right-wing political parties of the Second Polish Republic, which inspired state antisemitism, as well as of the politics of Bolshevik Russia as a state with latent antisemitism.

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