The Wrong Family Holocaust Story: Survival of Polish Jews in Stalin's Russia

Date: 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 4:15pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

CGIS South Building, Belfer Case Study Room (Room S020), Harvard University Campus, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge

Ellen G. Friedman’s presentation centers on the largely unknown story of Polish Jews who were saved from Hitler by Stalin. This story is at the center of her new book, The Seven, A Family Holocaust Story. Of the 3.3 million Jews in Poland before WWII, only about 350,000 survived, most of them by being banished to remote areas in the USSR. The reasons for the obscurity of this Holocaust narrative relate to its being the “wrong” story. Not about concentration camps, this story was buried by historians and by Polish Jews, themselves, who felt they were low on the “hierarchy of victimhood.” Also, Cold War attitudes towards the Soviet Union discouraged those who wished to immigrate to the United States to expose where they were harbored.  As this “wrong” Holocaust story, a story mainly of survival, makes its way into the larger story, how will it affect the Holocaust narrative.

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