24.01.2021 - online

POLIN Reading Room discussion online: What Is The Legacy Of Polish Jews?

We invite you to a discussion with the authors of the book accompanying opened the new "Legacy" gallery. The discussion with Prof. Halina Goldberg, Prof. Katrin Steffen and Prof. Antony Polonsky will be moderated by Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.

Several of the authors who contributed to "Legacy of Polish Jews," the book that accompanies the POLIN Museum's new Legacy Gallery, broaden the discussion on the contributions of Polish Jews to the many fields in which they worked. They will consider the factors that shaped their lives, career paths, and achievements. 

To what extent is their experience as Polish Jews relevant to who they became, what they achieved, and their impact on the fields in which they worked? What barriers and opportunities did they encounter and how did they deal with them? Why were some of these individuals celebrated in their time, but forgotten today, while others who were ignored in the past are recognized now? Why do some individuals make into the canon, while others who are equally or even more qualified do not? What is the role of historians in securing the place of particular individuals in a field’s pantheon? Finally, what does it mean to speak of the "legacy" of Polish Jews? Is this legacy to be understood as "heritage," the civilization created by Polish Jews? Or, is it to be understood as their contributions to civilization?

Halina Goldberg, Professor of Music (Musicology) at the Jacobs School of Music and Affiliate Faculty at the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program and the Russian and East European Institu at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her work is interdisciplinary, drawing on cultural studies, music, and politics, performance practice, and reception. She focuss on 19th- and 20th-century Poland and Eastern Europe, Chopin, and Jewish studies, and on the interconnection of Polish and Jewish cultures.

Katrin Steffen, Professor of European and Jewish History and Culture at the University of Sussex, specializes in modern European History, with a focus on the history of East Central and Eastern Europe and on Jewish history and culture. She has taught at the Free University in Berlin and universities in Hamburg, Halle-Wittenberg, Frankfurt (Oder), and Warsaw and was a visiting professor at the L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris.

Antony Polonsky, Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University, has published on the history of Jews in Poland and Russia and on the Holocaust. He played a leading role in establishing the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies at Oxford University, served on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and was a member of the Yad Vashem Memorial Committee. He has taught at University College, London, is an Associate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and has served as Chief Historian at POLIN Museum. 

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University, is best known for her interdisciplinary contributions to Jewish studies and to the theory and history of museums, tourism, and heritage. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was recently awarded the Dan David Prize. She is currently Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition and Advisor to the Director of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw.