Polish Jews in the Interwar Period:
Internal Enemies or Significant Others?

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.”

Join us on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

PDT: 11:00 a.m.
EDT: 2:00 p.m.
UK: 7:00 p.m.
CET: 8:00 p.m.
Israel: 9:00 p.m.

Eva Hoffman grew up in Krakow, Poland, before emigrating in her teens to Canada and then the United States. She received her PhD in literature from Harvard University, and later worked as senior editor and literary critic at The New York Times and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been translated widely, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and an Extinguished World, and After Such Knowledge: Reflections on the Long Aftermath of the Holocaust, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations. She has written and presented programs for BBC Radio and has lectured internationally on subjects of exile, historical memory, human rights, and other contemporary issues. Her awards, among many, include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Prix Italia She is a Visiting Professor at the European Institute at UCL and lives in London.

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.