Evacuation, the Soviet Union, and the Jews: An International Online Conference

On December 21-22, 2021, an international online conference was held entitled Evacuation, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Problems, Assessments and Evidence. The conference was organized by the Hazit HaKavod Association and the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities of the East (Jerusalem, Israel), and its participants were greeted by Mr. Shlomo Gur, Vice President of the Claims Conference, and Dr. Andrzej Gasiorovsky, President of the Global Forum “Helping Hand Coalition”.

The conference was attended by scholars from 8 countries: Israel, Russia, Germany, USA, Canada, Hungary, Japan and Kazakhstan. 14 presentations and 9 reports were delivered in Russian, English and Hebrew. A wide range of aspects were presented and discussed during the conference, including such topics as quantitative assessment Jewish refugees and evacuees (Dr. Vadim Dubson, Israel), some critical general considerations about the topic (Dr. Kiril Feferman, Israel), contemporary perceptions of anti-Semitism (Dr. Támás Kéndé, Hungary), the role of anti-Semitism in the survival strategy of evacuees (Dr. Natalie Belsky, USA) and many other issues in the reports by Prof. Yakov Zinberg (Japan), Prof. Marina Potemkina and Dr. Leonid Terushkin (Russia), Dr. Irina Rebrova (Germany), Alexander Baron and Evgenia Chilikova (Kazakhstan).

The sessions were moderated by the scholars Dr. Zeev Levin and Dr. Kiril Feferman (Israel) and Dr. Markus Nesselrodt (Germany).

An important part of the conference was dedicated to the reports and testimonies of Holocaust refugees themselves.

A round table was held to discuss prospects for scholarly study of the history of evacuation and salvation of Jews in wartime USSR. At this stage, Prof. Ilya Altman from Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center in Moscow joined the session and contributed to the discussion.

In conclusion, the participants of the conference decided to create a working group, which will include specialists in the history of evacuation and flight during the Holocaust, aiming to create an Encyclopedia “EVACUATION AND THE STORY THE HOLOCAUST REFUGEES IN THE USSR IN 1939-1946”

The video recording of the conference can be found here:

December 21, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0UzOHmMOrQ

December 22, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZKb2uPmyg4

The papers presented at the conference are currently in preparation and are scheduled to appear on this site later.