Poland’s newly-regained independence in 1918 created fertile ground in which Jewish literature, theater, and music flourished. At the same time, public and private debate about what it meant to be Polish and what it meant to be a Polish Jew intensified. Our scholars will delve into the confluence of shifting politics, culture, and social trends on a Jewish sense of belonging or being “other.”
Jonathan Brent is the Executive Director and CEO of The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, where he initiated The YIVO Vilna Collection Project in 2014, an international project to conserve and digitize YIVO’s pre-WWII collections in New York City and in Vilnius. In 2019, he was awarded the Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania in recognition of his work in promoting cooperation between Lithuania and YIVO and for the preservation of the prewar Jewish archives of Lithuania. Professor Brent served as the Humanities Senior Editor, then Editorial Director, at Yale University Press (1991–2009). Brent teaches history and literature at Bard College. His numerous publications include Stalin’s Last Crime (2003) and Inside the Stalin Archives (2008), as well as articles on Jewish, Soviet and East European history. The most recent of his documentaries, How to Become a Tyrant, has just premiered on Netflix. Brent is currently working on a documentary about Raul Wallenberg, a study of Stalin’s seizure of power, and finishing a novel.