Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of German Studies, Brown University
“The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: The Murder of a Town in Eastern Galicia”
Monday, October 26, 4:00 p.m.
159 Education Building (1000 Bascom Mall)
This lecture will reconstruct the destruction of the town of Buczacz in Polish Eastern Galicia, now in Western Ukraine, during World War II. Buczacz, the hometown of the Nobel Prize laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon, as well as of Bartov’s mother, had existed for centuries as a multiethnic town made up of Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians. During the German occupation of 1941-44, the vast majority of the Jewish inhabitants were murdered by the Germans, with ample assistance from Ukrainian policemen, and the Polish population was ethnically cleansed by Ukrainian nationalists. How was a community of coexistence transformed into a community of genocide? This lecture, based on a major monograph about to be completed, investigates the daily life of genocide as reflected through the documents, eyewitness reports, postwar trials, testimonies, and memoirs of its inhabitants and the men and women who occupied the town and spent several comfortable years in the midst of the horror they facilitated.
This lecture is made possible through the generosity of Harry and Marjorie Tobias.
About the Speaker
Omer Bartov was born in Israel and educated at Tel Aviv University and St. Antony’s College, Oxford, Omer Bartov’s early research concerned the Nazi indoctrination of the Wehrmacht and the crimes it committed in World War II, analyzed in his books, The Eastern Front, 1941-1945, and Hitler’s Army. He then turned to the links between total war and genocide, discussed in his books Murder in Our Midst, Mirrors of Destruction, and Germany’s War and the Holocaust. Bartov’s interest in representation also led to his study, The “Jew” in Cinema, which examines the recycling of antisemitic stereotypes in film. His last monograph, Erased, investigates interethnic relations in the borderlands of Eastern Europe. As a framework for this research, he led a multi-year collaborative project at the Watson Institute, culminating in the co-edited volume, Shatterzone of Empires. Bartov is currently completing a major monograph, The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood: Buczacz, Biography of a Town.