|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2013 | 7pm|
Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University|
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Winner of the 2011 Kulczycki Book Prize for Polish Studies, and the Pro Historia Polonorum Prize for the best book on the history of Poland published in a foreign language between 2007 and 2011.
For centuries, Poland and Russia formed the heartland of the Jewish world. Until World War II, this area was home to over forty percent of world Jewry: nearly three and a half million Jews lived in Poland, and nearly three million more lived in the Soviet Union. Although the majority of American and European Jews originate from Eastern Europe, the history of this life and civilization is not well known, or has been reduced to a story of persecution and martyrdom. In his masterful three-volume history, The Jews in Poland and Russia: 1350 to the Present Day, Polonsky avoids sentimentalism and mythologizing, and provides a comprehensive and detailed account of this great civilization. From the towns and shtetls where Jews lived, to the emergence of Hasidism and the Haskalah movement, to the rise of Jewish urbanization, and Polish-Jewish relations during World War II, Polonsky’s book dispels myths about this culture, while demonstrating the importance of Poland and Russia as a great center of Jewish life.
Antony Polonsky is the Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University, an appointment jointly held at Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A member of the Executive Committee of the National Polish American-Jewish American Task Force and an Associate of the Ukrainian Research Institute of Harvard University, Polonsky was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 1999, and in 2006, the Rafael Scharf award for outstanding achievement in preserving and making known the heritage of Polish Jewry. In 2007 he was awarded the biannual Gantz-Zahler Prize in Nonfiction Publishing by the Foundation for Jewish Culture and in 2008 the Oskar Halecki prize of the Polish American Historical Association for contributing to the understanding the Polish experience in the United States. In 2010 Polonsky was awarded an honorary doctorate at Warsaw University and in 2011 was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Polonia Restituta and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Independent Lithuania. Polonsky serves as an honorary research fellow at academic institutions around the world, and is the author of numerous award-winning books and publications.