Biographies and Politics: The Involvement of Jews and People of Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements in 19th and 20th Century Poland

The aim of the conference is to outline the actual involvement of Jews and activists of Jewish origin in the leftist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries from the perspective of individual motivations, ideological choices and personal biographies.

  • 1-2 December 2019, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, (Warsaw, Poland)

To explore the different paths which led Jewish individuals to engage in leftist parties and organizations, we suggest approaching the topic from a biographical perspective. We thus invite scholars to present their findings on the formation of Jewish political identities based on biographical sources, especially ego-documents like diaries, personal letters, memoirs or oral testimonies. 

Possible questions to be addressed might be:

  • Was being Jewish an important factor in choosing a specific political path?
  • Which other factors led Jews and people of Jewish origin to affiliate with a particular political group?
  • How did their leftist involvement influence their attitude towards imperial settings, occupying powers, internationalist movements, as well as Poland and Polish identity?
  • How did they assess their leftist engagement later in their lives?

The conference program is available HERE >> 

For additional questions please contact us at: [email protected]

The Conference details

Academic Committee:

  • Dr. François Guesnet, UCL
  • Prof. Yvonne Kleinmann, Aleksander Brückner Zentrum
  • Dr. Agnieszka Mrozik, PAN
  • Prof. Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, PAN
  • Prof. Antony Polonsky, POLIN Museum
  • Prof. David Rechter, Oxford University
  • Dr. Stephan Stach, POLIN Museum (conference convener)
  • Dr. Michał Trębacz, POLIN Museum


Depending on the needs, the Museum will consider providing childcare (for children aged 4-12 years) during the event. The will to apply for a childcare during the conference must be notified in advance.

Information for conference speakers:

  • There is no conference fee;
  • The accommodation and meals during the conference will be provided;
  • The possibility and scale of the reimbursement of the travel costs will be known after the CFP closing;
  • The presentations may be delivered in Polish or in English;
  • The abstracts for the conference must be submitted in English;
  • The decision about the post-conference publication will be made after the conference. However, within the Global Education Outreach program all the publication are prepared in English.



Conference organizers

The conference is organized within the Global Education Outreach Program.

The conference was made possible thanks to the support of Taube Philanthropies, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. 

logo Taube Philantropies logo William K. Bowes Junior Foundation

The conference was organized with the support of Stiftung für deutsch-polnische Zusammenarbeit.


Fundacja Współpracy Polsko-Niemieckiej

The conference was made possible thanks to the support of the European Association for Jewish Studies.

European Association for Jewish Studies

This conference was made possible thanks to a grant from the German-Polish Science Foundation.


Polsko-Niemiecka Fundacja na rzecz Nauki

The conference is supported by the Gotteiner Institute for the History of the Bund and the Jewish Labor Movement at the University of Haifa.

Gotteiner institute for the history of the Bund and the Jewish labor movement Uniwersytet w Hajfie