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Please join the Slavic Colloquium talk with Sasha Senderovich, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Washington.

“In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Translating Jewish Writers from the Soviet Union”


Abstract: Despite a steady stream of scholarship and literary translation related to the Holocaust and its aftermath, very little literature published in the former USSR is available in English. The typical Cold War explanation for this paucity—that “Hitler killed the readers and Stalin killed the writers”—led to the assumption that no significant writing existed in the Soviet Union about the experience of Jews during World War II. However, Soviet Jews remembered, represented, and mourned. They did so even as many coped with the new traumas of the final years of Stalin’s rule and the many instances of official and unofficial antisemitism that persisted through the rest of the Soviet era. In their ongoing collaborative translation of eight different writers–some of whom wrote in Yiddish and others in Russian–Sasha Senderovich and Harriet Murav (co-translators of David Bergelson’s Judgment, Northwestern University Press, 2017) seek to capture a rich and complex cultural conversation about the nature of historical trauma and memory in texts written after and about the Holocaust. In this talk, Sasha Senderovich will outline a broader conceptual framework for and discuss examples from this collection of translated short fiction, focusing specifically on the questions of Jewish memory in post-WWII Ukraine.

Bio: Sasha Senderovich is Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also an affiliate of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies. He is the author of How the Soviet Jew Was Made (Harvard University Press, 2022). With Harriet Murav, he translated the Yiddish writer David Bergelson’s novel Judgment; the translator pair's current project, In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Short Fiction by Jewish Writers from the Soviet Union, has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is expected from Stanford University Press in 2026. In addition to scholarly work, he has also written on contemporary literature by Soviet-born Jewish American writers and other cultural and political topics; see

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