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The Vilnius Komitet and the Destruction of Polish Jewry, 1939–1941

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Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide

29 Russell Square

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WC1B 5DP

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We’re delighted to welcome Miriam Schulz to present her recent publication Before The Bow That Was Drawn: The Vilnius Komitet and its documentation of the destruction of Polish Jewry, 1939–1940/41 - a pioneering study of the very first Jewish historical committee in Eastern Europe documenting the destruction of Jewish communities in Poland since September 1939. Her study is based on The Wiener Library collection of reports and statements on the persecution of the Jews in Poland.

In November 1939, a group of 60 Jewish journalists and writers, refugees from recently occupied Poland, founded the Komitet tsu zamlen materialn vegn yidishn khurbn in Poyln 1939 (Committee to Collect Documents on the Destruction of Polish Jewry 1939) in still independent Vilnius. Without delay, they embarked on a mission to gather documents and eye-witness accounts about the destruction of Polish Jewry until June 1941––when the Wehrmacht invaded Lithuania and killed leading members of the Committee.

Miriam Schulz is a Graduate Student of Yiddish Studies at Columbia University, New York City. Alongside her studies, she is working as a research assistant for the project Protecting Memory: Preserving and Memorializing the Holocaust Mass Graves of Eastern Europe as well as the project A Comprehensive History of the Jews of the Soviet Union of NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. In her dissertation, Miriam is working on the Soviet Yiddish Holocaust discourse and commemoration unfolding ever since the beginning of World War II through the Cold War. Her study on the Komitet tsu zamlen materialn vegn yidishn khurbn in Poyln was published in November 2016 by Metropol Publishing House. For her study, she was awarded both the Scientific Award of the Ambassador of the Republic Poland in December 2015 and the Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Award in January 2017.

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Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide

29 Russell Square

London

WC1B 5DP

United Kingdom

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