The Legacy of World War II in Eastern Europe

19:00, Saturday 7 Aug 2021 (2 hours)
  Virtual session
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Despite ending more than 75 years ago, the Second World War and the memory of it continue to shape both the landscape and lives of people across Eastern Europe. Three of the most distinguished scholars of this conflict are featured in this roundtable discussion that will address pre-war Jewish Life and the legacy of the Holocaust; the establishment of a new international order in the region; and Russian and Ukrainian memory politics concerning the war.

Dr. Omer Bartov, Department of History, Brown University

Omer Bartov is the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University. His early research concerned the Nazi indoctrination of the Wehrmacht and the crimes it committed in World War II, analyzed in his books, The Eastern Front, 1941-1945 (1985) and Hitler’s Army (1991). He then turned to the links between total war and genocide, discussed in his books Murder in Our Midst (1996), Mirrors of Destruction (2000), and Germany’s War and the Holocaust (2003), as well as to the role of stereotypes in representations of violence, leading to his study, The “Jew” in Cinema (2005). Bartov’s growing interest in Eastern Europe is reflected in his study Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine (2007), which investigates the politics of memory in the borderlands of Eastern Europe. His most recent book is Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz (2018), where he reconstructs the transition of an interethnic community from long-term coexistence to genocidal violence. The book won the National Jewish Book Prize in Holocaust and the Zócalo Book Prize. Bartov directed the project “Israel-Palestine: Lands and Peoples” at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in 2015-2018, and has begun researching a new book tentatively titled Israel, Palestine: A Personal Political History.

Dr. Serhii Plokhii, Department of History, Harvard University

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Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and the Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. His current research is focused on the history of the American airbases on the Soviet territory in 1944-1945. Taking off from airfields in Britain and Italy, American airplanes bombed their targets in Central Europe and landed behind the Soviet lines, repeating the bombing on their way back to Britain or Italy. The three airbases located in Poltava region of Ukraine became the only place where the allies got the chance to live and fight side by side. In his research based on recently declassified archives of the Red Army counterintelligence services, he will explore the experiences and perceptions of rank-and-file participants in Soviet-American encounters and reconstruct the history of the failure of the World War II alliance from below. The book based on his current research will be released by Oxford University Press in the fall of 2019.

Dr. Serhy Yekelchyk, Department of History, University of Victoria

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Born and educated in the Soviet Union, Serhy Yekelchyk received a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. He has published widely on Stalinism, in particular on the social and cultural processes in the Soviet state during and immediately after World War II. His monograph, Stalin’s Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War (Oxford University Press, 2014) was the recipient of the Best Book Award from the American Association for Ukrainian Studies and came out in a Ukrainian translation in 2019. A professor of History and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria, Yekelchyk is also currently the president of the Canadian Association for Ukrainian Studies.

This event is sponsored by the Temerty Foundation and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

University of Victoria
Brown University
Department of History, Harvard University
University of Ottawa