8.04.2021 - online

Book Talks: From Left to Right: The Transformation of a Pioneering Holocaust Historian

Nancy Sinkoff in conversation with David Myers and David Engel. Antony Polonsky, host of the GEOP series “What's New? What's Next? Book Talks,” will moderate the meeting.

  • 8 April (Thursday), 20.00 CET/ 2:00PM EST / 11:00AM PST / 9:00PM Israel
  • Zoom registration >>
  • In English

Nancy Sinkoff’s award-winning book, Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History, is the first comprehensive biography of this pioneering Holocaust historian. Sinkoff traces the development of Dawidowicz’s thought in relation to her shifting political alignments – from her youthful support of communism to FDR Democrat, and finally to neo-conservatism.

Nancy Sinkoff argues that the formative experiences in Dawidowicz’s life were her experience growing up in the Bronx, her year at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Vilna just before the German invasion, her horror as she watched from New York City as the Holocaust unfolded, working with displaced persons in postwar Germany, and her role at the American Jewish Committee, organizing research related to policy issues affecting American Jewish life. Sinkoff’s magisterial intellectual biography of Lucy Dawidowicz (1915–1990) goes beyond the fascinating story of one exceptional historian to open a window on the major events and issues of twentieth-century European and American Jewish history.

Nancy Sinkoff is the Academic Director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Rutgers University–New Brunswick. She is author of Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderland (2004) and was responsible for a new edition of Lucy Dawidowicz’s memoir, From that Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938-1947 (2008). She edited the award-winning Sara Levy's World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin (2018), with Rebecca Cypess. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State University Press, 2020) won the 2020 Natan Notable Book award and the 2020 National Jewish Book Award in the biography category.

David Myers holds the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History and is Director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He has written extensively on modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His books include Re-Inventing the Jewish Past: European Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History (1995), Resisting History: Historicism and its Discontents in German-Jewish Thought (2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (2008), Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction  (2017), and The Stakes of History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life  (2018). His edited volumes include The Jewish Past Revisited, Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases, and The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History. He is currently working on a book (with Nomi Stolzenberg) on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York. He is co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. 

David Engel is Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies and Chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He previously taught at the University of Tel Aviv, where he is a Fellow of the Diaspora Research Institute and an editor of the periodical Gal-Ed. His books include Holocaust: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1943–1945 (1993), In the Shadow of Auschwitz: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1939–1942 (1987), Between Liberation and Flight: Holocaust Survivors in Poland and the Struggle for Leadership, 1944–1946 (in Hebrew,1996), and Zionism (2009). His most recent books include Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust (2010), The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews (2013), and The Assassination of Symon Petliura and the Trial of Sholem Schwarzbard 1926–1927: A Selection of Documents (2016). 


Antony Polonsky - Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University. Expertise: East European Jewish history and Holocaust studies. A founder and vice-president of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies in Oxford and of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, Cambridge, MA. Graduate and doctor of the University of Oxford, member of the British Royal Historical Society, honorary doctorate of the University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University.


“Book Talks,” a monthly series from December 2020 until July 2021, leads up to GEOP’s online international conference in October 2021: "What's New? What's Next?: Innovative Methods, New Sources, and Paradigm Shifts in Jewish Studies." The call for panel and poster session proposals is open until 30 April 2021. More details >>


The book talks are organized within the Global Education Outreach Program

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

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