Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 26

Jews and Ukrainians
Edited by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern & Antony Polonsky

A comprehensive survey of the millennium-long history of Jews in the Ukraine sets out the background to issues that have generated much conflict. With in-depth contributions from Jewish and Ukrainian scholars and other experts on these complex and highly controversial topics, the volume attempts to provide a broader historical context that can move the discussion beyond the old paradigms of conflict and hostility.

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This volume provides a comprehensive and much-needed survey of the millennium-long history of Jews in the Ukrainian lands. It challenges the stereotyped vision of the relationship between Jews and Ukrainians and offers in-depth studies of key periods and issues.

The survey opens with a consideration of early Jewish settlement and local reactions to it. The focus then moves to the period after 1569, when control of the fertile lands of Ukraine passed to the Polish nobility. Because it was largely Jews in the service of the nobility who administered these lands, they were inevitably caught up in the resentment that Polish rule provoked among the local population, and above all among the Cossacks and peasant-serfs. This resentment culminated in the great revolt led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky in the mid-seventeenth century, in consequence of which the Jews were excluded from that part of Ukraine which eventually came under Russian rule when the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned.

The Jewish response to the establishment of Russian and Austrian rule in the areas of Ukraine that had formerly been in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth is a second major theme, and particularly the Jewish reaction to the emergence of Ukrainian nationalism and the subsequent Ukrainian struggle for independence. A third overarching theme is the impact of the sovietization of Ukraine on Jewish–Ukrainian relations, with a chapter devoted to the 1932–3 famine (the Holodomor) in which millions perished. The volume also gives special attention to the growing rift between Jews and Ukrainians triggered by the rise of radical nationalism among Ukrainians living outside the Soviet Union and by conflicting views of Germany's genocidal plans regarding the Jews during the Second World War. With contributions from leading Jewish and Ukrainian scholars on these complex and highly controversial topics, the volume attempts to place Jewish–Ukrainian relations in a broader historical context and to add to the growing literature which seeks to go beyond the old paradigms of conflict and hostility.


About the editors

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and a professor of Jewish history at Northwestern University. He teaches early modern and modern east European Jewish history; Jewish mysticism and kabbalah; the history and culture of Ukraine; and Slavonic Jewish literature. He has been appointed a Fulbright Specialist on Eastern Europe, a fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and a visiting professor at the Ukrainian Free University in Munich. He has published several books, including Jews in the Russian Army, 1827–1917: Drafted into Modernity (2008), The Anti-Imperial Choice: The Making of the Ukrainian Jew (2009), winner of theAmerican Association of Ukrainian Studies book award, and Lenin's Jewish Question (2010). He has recently finished, The Golden-Age Shtetl, and together with Paul Robert Magocsi is working on a study entitled 'Jews and Ukrainians in the Ukrainian Lands'.

Antony Polonsky is Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Chief Historian of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw. Until 1991, he was Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is chair of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry; author of Politics in Independent Poland, 1921–1939 (1972), The Little Dictators (1975), The Great Powers and the Polish Question, 1941–45 (1976); co-author of The History of Poland since 1863 (1980) and The Beginnings of Communist Rule in Poland (1981); and co-editor of Contemporary Jewish Writing in Poland: An Anthology (2001) and The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland (2004). His most recent work is The Jews in Poland and Russia, i: 1350–1881; ii: 1881–1914; iii: 1914–2008 (2009–2012), also published by the Littman Library.


About the contributors

Howard Aster, formerly taught Political Science, McMaster University
Rachel Feldhay Brenner, Max and Frieda Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ivan Dzyuba, Ukrainian writer and literary critic; member, National Academy of Science of Ukraine; former Ukrainian Minister of Culture
Amelia Glaser, Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, University of California, San Diego
John-Paul Himka, Professor, Department of History, University of Alberta
Judith Kalik, teaches East European History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Myron Kapral, Director, Lviv Branch, Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archaeography and Source Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Vladimir (Ze'ev) Khanin, Chief Adviser on Research and Strategic Planning, Ministry of Absorption, Israel
Victoria Khiterer, Assistant Professor of History and Director, Conference on the Hilocaust and Genocide, Millersville University, Pennsylvania
Taras Koznarsky, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
Sergey R. Kravtsov, Research Fellow, Center for Jewish Art, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Taras Kurylo, independent scholar, Calgary
Alexander J. Motyl, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University-Newark
Jakub Nowakowski, Director, Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków
Alexander I. Pereswetoff-Morath, Associate Professor and Academy Research Fellow, Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities, Stockholm
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Jewish History, Northwestern University
Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Peter J. Potichnyj, Honorary Professor, East China University, Shanghai and Lviv Polytechnic National University; Professor Emeritus, McMaster University
Mykola Ryabchuk, Ukrainian writer and journalist; Vice President, Ukrainian PEN-Club
Raz Segal, doctoral student, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University; teaching fellow, International MA Program in Holocaust Studies, Haifa University
Dan Shapira, Professor of Ottoman Studies and Professor of the History and Culture of Eastern European Jewry, Bar-Ilan University
Myroslav Shkandrij, Professor of Slavic Studies, University of Manitoba
Mykola Iv. Soroka, Advancement Manager, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta
Yevhen Sverstyuk, theologian, translator, journalist, and literary critic; Chief Editor, Nasha vira newspaper; President, Ukrainian PEN-Club
Nicolas Szafowal, political scientist, Munich
Tomasz Szarota, Professor, Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Yaroslav Tynchenko, historian, journalist and documentary film scriptwriter, Kiev
Yury (Arye) Vudka, Israeli journalist, theologian, and teacher
Russell Wallis, Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London



Note on Place Names
Note on Transliteration


Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern and Antony Polonsky

The First Jews of Ukraine
Dan Shapira

Jews of Lviv and the City Council in the Early Modern Period
Myron Kapral

Christian Anti-Judaism and Jewish–Orthodox Relations among the East Slavs up to 1569
Alexander Pereswetoff-Morath

Jews, Orthodox, and Uniates in Ruthenian Lands
Judith Kalik

Jews in Russian Travel Narratives of the Early Nineteenth Century
Taras Koznarsky

Between Nation and Class: Natalia Kobrynska's Jewish Characters
Amelia Glaser

The Jewish Formations of Western Ukraine during the Civil War
Yaroslav Tynchenko

Jewish Themes in Volodymyr Vynnychenko's Writing
Mykola Iv. Soroka

The 'Jewish Question' in the Ukrainian Nationalist Discourse of the Inter-War Period
Taras Kurylo

Breaking Taboos: The Holodomor and the Holocaust in Ukrainian–Jewish Relations
Myroslav Shkandrij

The Ukrainian Nationalist Movement and the Jews: Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism, Fascism, Rationality, Primordialism, and History
Alexander J. Motyl

The Ukrainian Free University and the Jews
Mykola Szafowal

Imported Violence: Carpatho-Ruthenians and Jews in Carpatho-Ukraine, October 1938 – March 1939
Raz Segal

Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and the Holocaust
John-Paul Himka

We Did Not Recognize Our Country: The Rise of Antisemitism in Ukraine before and after the Second World War, 1937–1947
Victoria Khiterer

On the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Murders in Baby Yar
Ivan Dzyuba

Reminiscences About Friends
Yury (Arye) Vudka

Grains of Ukrainian-Israeli 'Solidarity'
Yevhen Sverstyuk

Ukrainian–Jewish Relations: A Twenty-Five-Year Perspective
Howard Aster and Petro Potichnyj

Yiddish: Identity and Language Politics in the Post-Soviet Ukrainian Jewish Community
Vladimir (Ze'ev) Khanin

'A City Not Forgotten: Memories of Jewish Lwów and the Holocaust'
An Exhibition at the Galician Jewish Museum, Kraków, June 2010–January 2011

Jakub Nowakowski

Eight Jews in Search of a Grandfather
Mykola Ryabchuk

A Note on the Names of the Golden Rose Synagogue in Lviv
Sergey Kravtsov


The Vagaries of British Compassion: Britons, Poles, and Jews after the First World War
Russell Wallis

The Merry-Go-Round on Krasiński Square: Did 'the happy throngs laugh'? The Debate Regarding the Attitude of Warsaw's Inhabitants towards the Ghetto Uprising
Tomasz Szarota

Personal Accounts of the War by Polish Writers in Occupied Warsaw: The Case of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz
Rachel Feldhay Brenner

Józef Życiński by Monika Rice

Notes on the Contributors