Seminar to look into Lithuanian-Jewish experiences as deportees and displaced persons

Polish-Jewish Displaced Persons in a Camp near Zeilsheim in 1946. Curtesy of USHMM Washington

The Colloquium serves as a forum for scholars of different backgrounds, cultures, and generations in which they can broaden their understanding of the theoretical framework of their research. Colloquium Vilnense in Autumn 2014 is jointly organized by Vilnius University’s Faculty of History, European Humanities University’s Department of History, and the EHU Center for German Studies, with the support of German Academic Exchange Service.

10 December, 5 PM, Vilnius University’s History Faculty, Universiteto g. 7/329, no admission fee.

Papers will be given in English, the discussion follows in English Lithuanian and Russian.

Violeta Davoliūtė

Jewish Deportees to the Gulag. Lithuania’s Forgotten Story

The mass Soviet deportations from Lithuania affected all ethnic groups, including the Jewish Lithuanians who were deported to the Gulag in June of 1941. However, the experience of this category of deportees is relatively under-studied and under-represented. Drawing on recent first-hand interviews conducted in Israel, Lithuania and the UK, among other sources, this presentation seeks to explore the experience of Lithuanian Jewish deportees to the Gulag by focusing on the formation of their subjectivity, sense of identity and belonging, and relationship with other ethnic groups during the deportation and afterwards.

Markus Nesselrodt

From Russian Winters to Munich Summers. Polish-Jewish Displaced Persons and the Story of Survival in the Soviet Union

An estimated number of 230.000 Polish Jews survived the Holocaust by escape, evacuation or deportation to the Soviet Union. Although they made up more than half of all Holocaust survivors from Poland, their stories are relatively unknown today. Ironically, they had survived persecution by the Nazis but had to face hunger, poverty, and forced labor in the Soviet Union. When Polish Jews were allowed to return home after the end of the war, they were devastated by the death of the families and the destruction of their former property. In search of a better future, tens of thousands former exiles left Poland for the camps for Jewish Displaced Persons in occupied Germany. The paper will present new research on this case study of transnational migration during World War II using also examples from Wilna.

Violeta Davoliūtė is the author of The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War (Routledge, 2013), Populations Displacement in 20th Century Lithuania: Experiences, Identities, Legacies (co-edited with Tomas Balkelis; Brill, 2015), and Maps of Memory: Trauma, Identity and Exile in Deportation Memoirs from the Baltic States (co-edited (with Tomas Balkelis; forthcoming with Central European University Press, 2015). Her interests include displacement, memory, identity formation and responses to historical trauma.

Markus Nesselrodt is a Phd Student at the Zentrum Jüdische Studien focusing on the Experience of Polish Jews in the Soviet Union 1939–1948. The Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg was founded in 2012 and is a cooperative project of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Universität Potsdam, the European University Viadrina Frankfurt, the Abraham Geiger College, and the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies. The objective of the center is to cross-link institutions and establishments in Berlin and Brandenburg to promote junior research and to drive forward the internationalization of the academic region Berlin-Brandenburg in the field of Jewish Studies.

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