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 Jews & The Red Army during WWII

Wednesday, May 1, 2024
5pm to 6:30pm PT

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Building 360, Conference Room
Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), 450 Jane Stanford Way Building 360, Stanford, CA 94305
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Event Details:

The history of Jews in the Red Army is an integral part of the history of Soviet Jewry. Under Soviet rule, Jews became eligible for military careers, and military service became a prestigious “Jewish profession.” Yet knowledge about Jewish participation in the Red Army during its most dramatic period - the period of World War II - remained limited for many years. The ethnic composition of the Red Army during the war remained secret for over 70 years after its end. It seems that the Russian authorities stubbornly upheld one of the most enduring Soviet myths - that of friendship and brotherhood among the peoples of the USSR during the war as a key factor in securing victory. Only five years ago materials related to the national composition of the Red Army and related issues were declassified. The declassified information regarding Jews proved partly anticipated but predominantly surprising, requiring a significant reassessment of entrenched stereotypes in historiography and public perception.This presentation will discuss the history of Jews in the Red Army during  World War II in light of the newly opened archival data.


Oleg Budnitskii is a 2023-2024 fellow at the National Humanities Center, North Carolina. In 2011-2023 he was the founding director of the International Center for the History and Sociology of WWII and Its Consequences/Institute for Advanced Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics, Moscow. He is the author or coauthor of nine books and editor or coeditor of 27 others on imperial Russian, Soviet, and modern Jewish history. Recent books include War, Conquest, and Catastrophe: Jews in the Soviet Union: A History, 1939–1945 (2022, with David Engel, Gennady Estraikh, and Anna Shternshis) and Another Russia: Studies in the History of Russian Emigration (2021, in Russian). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowships and grants from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fulbright Program, Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, MacArthur Foundation, and IREX.


This event is generously co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.