CONSULTANTS


Shana Penn
is the executive director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and director of its Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland, as well as a visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Jewish Studies in Berkeley. Her book, Solidarity's Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (University of Michigan Press, May 2005) was awarded Best Book in Slavic and East European Women’s Studies by the American Association of Women in Slavic Studies. It is the first book to reconstruct women's leadership role in rescuing the Solidarity movement during the 1980s martial law era and in building a free press in Poland. The Polish version, Podziemie Kobiet (“The Women’s Underground”), was published in 2003. Shana is currently at work on a new book exploring the revitalization of Jewish culture in Poland. Her essays and articles have appeared in Beacon Book of Essays by Contemporary American Women, Journal of Women's History, Johns Hopkins SAIS Review, The Forward, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dr. Natalia Aleksiun is associate professor of modern Jewish history in the Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Touro College in New York. She studied East European and Jewish history in Poland, where she received her first doctoral degree at Warsaw University, as well as Oxford, Jerusalem and New York, where she received her second doctoral degree at NYU. Among several prestigious fellowships, she was a fellow at Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, and Senior Fellow at Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, Vienna, a Yad Hanadiv Postdoctoral Fellow in Israel and Pearl Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow, The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, USHMM, Washington D.C., and the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. Together with Dr. Elissa Bemporad she is co-chairing a Scholars’ Working Group on Women and Gender in Jewish History at the Center for Jewish History in New York.

She published a monograph titled Where to? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944-1950 (in Polish), and numerous articles in Yad Vashem Studies, Polish Review, Dapim, East European Jewish Affairs, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Polin, Gal Ed, East European Societies and Politics, Nashim and German History. She coedited the twentieth volume of Polin, devoted to the memory of the Holocaust. Together with Brian Horowitz she is co-editing a volume 29 of Polin titled Writing Jewish History. Her book Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust will be published with Littman in 2017. She is currently working on a new book about the so-called cadaver affair at European Universities in the 1920s and 1930s and on a project dealing with daily lives of Jews in hiding in Galicia during the Holocaust.

Dr. Karen Underhill is assistant professor of Polish literature and Polish-Jewish studies in the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research at the intersection of Polish and Jewish cultures and literatures focuses on Polish and Yiddish modernisms; Bruno Schulz and Galician Jewish culture in the interwar period; and changing narratives of Poland as a multilingual and pluralistic space of encounter.  Dr. Underhill received her PhD in Polish and Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago, was 2013-2013 Joseph Kremen Memorial Fellow at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; is co-founder of Massolit Books & Cafe in Kraków, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago YIVO Society. She has published articles in POLIN Journal, East European Politics and Societies (EEPS), Slavic and East European Journal (SEEJ), Czas Kultury, and Jewish Renaissance, and is currently at work on a manuscripted titled Writing in the Third Language: Bruno Schulz and Jewish Modernity.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and University Professor Emerita at New York University. Her books include Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage; Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki), and They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt). She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of the Republic of Poland, and received the 2020 Dan David Prize. She serves on Advisory Boards for the Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum of Tolerance Center in Moscow, and advises on museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania, Belarus, Albania, Israel, and the United States.

Dr. Samuel Kassow holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and currently works as a professor of history at Trinity College, Connecticut; his original Alma Mater. In 1967, he graduated with a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and has since lectured and taught in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Lithuania, Russia, Poland and Israel. 

His 2007 book, “Who Will Write Our History” became an international bestseller and served as an inspiration for a film of the same title, directed by Roberta Grossman.

For over a decade, Sam Kassow has been the lead historian for two galleries at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. He also received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson and Danforth Fellowships and has been an IREX Fellow at Warsaw and Moscow.