Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Professor Natalia Aleksiun

Fellow Dr Natalia Aleksiun

Mail: naleksiun(at)yahoo(dot)com

Fellowship funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (July/August 2019 & January - August 2020)
Guest Fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg September 2020 - July 2021

Natalia Aleksiun is Professor of Modern Jewish History at Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies, New York. She specializes in the social, political, and cultural history of modern East European Jewry and have written extensively on the history of the Jewish intelligentsia in East Central Europe, Polish-Jewish relations, modern Jewish historiography, the history of medicine, and of the Holocaust. She studied East European and Jewish history in Poland, where she received her first doctoral degree at Warsaw University, as well as Oxford, Jerusalem and New York, where she received her second doctoral degree at NYU. She was a fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, the USHMM in Washington D.C., Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies in Philadelphia, and Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. From August 2018 until June 2019 she held a regular fellowship at the Imre Kertész Kolleg.

Research project at the Kolleg

The Anatomy of Antisemitism: Jews, Cadavers, and the Politics of Medical Discourse in East Central Europe

The project The Anatomy of Antisemitism: Jews, Cadavers, and the Politics of Medical Discourse in East Central Europe examines the conflict over dissections at European universities in the interwar period. Beginning in the early 1920s Christian and nationalist student organizations began to demand that Jewish communities provide “Jewish bodies” for dissections as a condition for admitting Jews to medical schools. They appealed to university authorities, and the broader public for support, staged demonstrations and engaged in violence targeting Jewish medical students at universities in Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. In analyzing the affair, The Anatomy of Antisemitism will build on research on the relationship between modernity and the antisemitic imagination, arguing that the increasing visibility of Jews in medical schools constituted a challenge not only to the nation-building aspirations of new states, but also exposed intergenerational rifts between religious and secular elites within Jewish communities themselves. While pointing to the similarities and the gradual radicalization of the student movement across political borders, this project explores the regional variations in medical cultures and Jewish communal responses.

Main areas of research

  • Social, political and cultural history of Eastern European Jews in the modern period
  • Jewish Historiography
  • Holocaust Studies
  • Historiography and memory of the Holocaust
  • History of Medicine
  • Antisemitism in Poland
  • Polish-Jewish relations
  • Jewish migration within and from Eastern Europe


Conscious History. Polish-Jewish Historians before the Holocaust, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, University of Liverpool Press (forthcoming)

Dokad dalej? Ruch syjonistyczny w Polsce 1944-1950(Where To? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944-1950) (Warsaw: Trio, 2002)

Edited Volumes

Gender and Jewish Women in Central and Eastern Europe: Sources and Interpretations, co-edited with Elissa Bemporad (under contract with Palgrave)

Co-editor with Antony Polonsky, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 36: Childhood, Children and Childrearing (forthcoming 2023)

Gerszon Taffet, Zagłada Żydów Żółkiewskich (Destruction of Żółkiew Jewry)(Warsaw: Jewish Historical Institute) (forthcoming 2019)

Co-editor with Antony Polonsky and Brian Horowitz, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 29: Writing Jewish History (2016)

Co-editor with Antony Polonsky, Gabriel N. Finder and Jan Schwarz, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 20: Making Holocaust Memory (2008)

Academic editor of the Polish edition of Gershon Hundert’s Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century. A Genealogy of Modernity: Żydzi w Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów w XVIII wieku. Genealogia nowoczesności (Warsaw: Cyklady, 2007)


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals (in English)

"Crossing the Line: Violence against Jewish Women and the New Model of Antisemitism in Poland in the 1930s", forthcoming in Jewish History.

“The Galician Paradigm? Post-War Voices of German-Speaking Polish Jewish Survivors”, forthcoming in Leo Baeck Yearbook

“Seeking Relative Safety. The Flight of Polish Jews East in the Fall of 1939,” (co-authored with Eliyana Adler), Yad Vashem Studies (2018), 41-71.

“Female, Jewish, Educated, and Writing Polish Jewish History”, in Polin (2016), vol. 29, Writing Jewish History in Eastern Europe, 195-216.

“Intimate Violence: Jewish Testimonies on Victims and Perpetrators in Eastern Galicia”, Holocaust Studies. A Journal of Culture and History, Vol. 23, Iss. 1-2, 2017, 17-33.

“Pleading for Cadavers: Medical Students at the University of Vienna and the Study of Anatomy”, Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation (2015) 2, 4-10.

“Survivor Testimonies and Historical Objectivity: Polish Historiography since Neighbors”, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, vol. 20, no. 1-2, summer/autumn 2014, 157-178.

“Gender and Daily Lives of Jews in Hiding in Eastern Galicia,” Nashim (2014), 38-61.

“Together but Apart: University Experience of Jewish Students in the Second Polish Republic”, Acta Poloniae Historica, 109(2014), 109-137.

“As Citizens and Soldiers: Military Rabbis in the Second Polish Republic,” Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 12(2013), 221-242.

“Regards from the Land of the Dead: Jews in Eastern Galicia in the Immediate Aftermath of the Holocaust,” Kwartalnik Historii Żydów June 2013 2(246), 257-271.

“Philip Friedman and the Emergence of Holocaust Scholarship,” Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 11(2012), 333-346.

“Jewish Students and Christian Corpses in Interwar Poland: Playing with the Language of Blood Libel,” Jewish History 26 (2012), 327-342.

“Regards from my Shtetl: Polish Jews Write to Piłsudski, 1933-1935,” The Polish Review vol. LVI, nos. 1-2 (2011), 57-71.

“Christian Corpses for Christians! Dissecting the Anti-Semitism behind the Cadaver Affair of the Second Polish Republic,” East European Politics and Societies vol. XX number X (2011), 1-17.

“Setting the Record Straight: Polish Jewish Historians and Local History in Interwar Poland,” Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 7(2008), 127-141.

“The Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, 1944-1947,”Polin (20), 2007, 74-97.

“Narratives under Siege: Polish-Jewish Relations and the Writings of Jewish Historians in Interwar Poland,”Anti-Semitism Worldwide 2003-2004 (2005), Stephen Roth Institute, Tel Aviv University, 29-50.

“Rescuing a Memory and Constructing a History of Polish Jewry: Jews in Poland 1944-1950,” Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe 1-2 (2005), 5-27.

“The Polish Catholic Church and the Jewish Question in Poland, 1944-1948,” Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 33 (2005), 143-170.

“Polish Jewish Historians before 1918: Configuring the Liberal East European Jewish Intelligentsia,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 34, nr 2 (winter 2004), 41-54.

“Polish Historiography of the Holocaust – Between Silence and Public Debate,”German History vol. 22, no 3, 1 (August 2004), 406-432.

“In a Vicious Circle: Jews and Communism in Poland,” Studies in Contemporary Jewry, vol. 19 (2003), 157-180.

“The Origins of the Blood Libel: Israel Yuval’s Article ‘Vengeance and Damnation, Blood and Defamation: From Jewish Martyrdom to Blood Libel Accusation’ and the Response thereto,” Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia 1 (2002), 21-28.

“Gender and Nostalgia: Images of Women in Early Yizker Bikher,” Jewish Culture and History, vol. 5. no. 1 (summer 2002), 69-90.

“The Situation of the Jews in Poland as Seen by the Soviet Security Forces in 1945: Introduction and Annotation,” Jews in Eastern Europe, 3(37), (winter 1998), 52-68.

“Zionists and Anti-Zionists in the Central Committee of the Jews in Poland, Cooperation and Political Struggle, 1944-1950”, Jews in Eastern Europe, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Centre for Research and Documentation of East European Jewry,2(33), (fall 1997), 32-50.

Chapters in edited volumes

“Food, Money and Barter in the Lvov Ghetto, Eastern Galicia” in: Coping with Hunger and Shortage under German Occupation in World War II, ed. Tatjana Tönsmeyer, Peter Haslinger, Agnes Laba (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 223-247.

“Salo Baron and the Jewish Historiography in Galicia,” in: The Enduring Legacy of Salo W. Baron, ed. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Edward Dąbrowa, Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2017, 145-166.

Daily Survival. Social History of Jews in Family Bunkers in Eastern Galicia,” in: Lessons and Legacies. New Directions in Holocaust Research and Education, vol. 12, ed. Wendy Lower and Lauren Faulkner Rossi (Evanston; Northwestern University Press, 2017), 304-331.

“Neighbors in Borysław. Jewish Perceptions of Collaboration and Rescue in Eastern Galicia”, in: The Holocaust and European Societies. Social Processes and Social Dynamics, ed. Andrea Lőw and Frank Bajohr (London 2016), 243-266.

“An Invisible Web: Philip Friedman and the Network of Holocaust Research”, in: Before the Holocaust Had Its Name, ed. Regina Fritz, Eva Kovacs, Bela Rasky (Vienna 2016), 149-165.

“The Cadaver Affair in the Second Polish Republic. A Case Study of Practical Antisemitism?”, in: Alma Mater Antisemitica: Academic Milieu, Jews and Antisemitism at European Universities between 1918 and 1939, ed. Regina Fritz, Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe and Jana Starek (Vienna 2016), 203-220.

“Marcus Braude and the Making of the Future Jewish Elite in Poland,” in: A Romantic Polish-Jew. Rabbi Ozjasz Thon from Various Perspectives, ed. Michał Galas and Shoshana Ronen (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2015), 151-168.

“From Galicia to Warsaw: Interwar Historians of Polish Jewry,” in: Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis. Essays in Honor of the 75th Birthday of Professor Antony Polonsky, ed. Glenn Dynner and François Guesnet (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015), 370-389.

“’What Matters Most is Life Itself’. Europe in the Eyes of Marek Edelman,” in: Europe in the Eyes of Survivors of the Holocaust, ed. Zeev Mankowitz, David Weinberg and Sharon Kangisser-Cohen, Jerusalem 2014, 91-126.

“From Teachers of Religion to Professional Historians: Majer Balaban’s Seminar in Jewish History,” in:Proceedings of the International Conference: Zwischen Graetz und Dubnow: Jűdische Historiographie in Ostmitteleuropa im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Francois Guesnet(Leipzig:Akademische Verlagsanstalt, 2009), 147-176.

“Molding the Liberal Jewish Intelligentsia in Interwar Poland: Miesięcznik Żydowski (The Jewish Monthly) and Its Audience,” in: Turim Studies in Jewish History and Literature Presented to Dr. Bernard Lander, vol. 2, ed. Michael A. Shmidman (New York: Touro College Press, 2008), 25-47.

“Polish Historians Respond to Jedwabne,” in Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future, ed. Robert Cherry and AnnaMaria Orla-Bukowska (Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), 169-187.

“Jewish Reactions to Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland, 1944-1947,”in: Contested Memories:Polish Jewish Relations in the Holocaust and in its Aftermath, ed. Joshua Zimmerman (New Brunswick, NJ., Rutgers University Press, 2002), 247-261.

“Where Was there a Future for Polish Jewry? Bundist and Zionist Polemics in Post-World War II Poland,” in Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100, ed. Jack Jacobs (Hampshire, U.K., Palgrave, 2001), 227-242.


Articles in French, Polish and Hebrew

“Nihil novi?  Historiografia pogromów z lat 1921–1939”, in: Pogromy na ziemiach polskich, ed. Artur Markowski, Warsaw 2017 (forthcoming).

“Studenci z pałkami: rozruchy antyżydowskie na Uniwersytecie Stefana Batorego w Wilnie”, in: Pogromy na ziemiach polskich, ed. Kamil Kijek, Warsaw 2017 (forthcoming).

“Les jeunes historiens juifs dans la Pologne de l'entre-deux-guerres: l'identite nationale juive et la quete de l'histoire”, Identites juives en Europe central. Des Lumieres a l’entre-deux-guerres, ed. Daniel Baric, Tristan Coignard, Gaelle Vassogne, Tous 2014, 227-243.

“Dyskusje i polemiki: Etyka w badaniach przeszłości, Rocznik antropologii historii, 2012(II) nr 1(2), 303-304.

Żydowskie uniwersum symboliczne w Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej, in: Metamorfozy społeczne. Kultura i społeczeństwo II Rzeczypospolitej, ed. Włodzimierz Mędrzecki, Agata Zawiszewska (Warsaw: IHPAN, 2012), 85-92.

Szkoła historyczna Majera Bałabana – młodzi historycy żydowscy w Polsce w okresie międzywojennym, Studia Żydowskie. Almanach R. I (2011) Nr 1, 91-101.

“W poszukiwaniu żydowskiej przeszłości w Polsce: przewodniki po zabytkach w II Rzeczypospolitej,” in Narody i polityka: Studia ofiarowane Jerzemu Tomaszewskiemu, ed. Artur Markowski and August Grabski (Warsaw, Instytut Historii PAN, 2010), 201-213.

“Historyonim yehudim vehazon shel rabanut mi’sug hadash: Beyt hamidrash le’rabanim Takhkemoni vehamahon lemadaey hayahadut be’Varsha beyn milhamot haolam” (Jewish Historians and the Vision of a New Type of Rabbinate: The Tahkemoni Rabbinical Seminary and the Institute of Judaic Studies, in From Breslau to Jerusalem: Rabbinical Seminaries Past, Present and Future, ed. Guy Miron (Jerusalem: Machon Schechter, 2009), 165-202.

“Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w piśmiennictwie historyków żydowskich w Polsce w latach trzydziestych XX wieku”(Polish-Jewish relations as reflected in the writings of Jewish historians in Poland in the 1930s), Studia Judaica 9, 1 (2006), 47-67.

“Ruch syjonistyczny wobec systemu rządów w Polsce w latach 1944-1949”(The Zionist Movement in Poland and the Government, 1944-1949), in Komunizm: ideologia, system, ludzie, ed. Tomasz Szarota (Warsaw: NERITON, Instytut Historii PAN, 2001), 233-251.

“Ideologia syjonistyczna po Holocauście”(Zionist Ideology after the Holocaust),inRozdział wspólnej historii. Studia z dziejów Żydów w Polsce. Ofiarowane profesorowi Jerzemu Tomaszewskiemu w siedemdziesiątą rocznicę urodzin, ed. Jolanta Żyndul (Warsaw: Cyklady, 2001), 323-337.

“Mehkarim historiyim beNose haSho’ah sheYats'u laOr bePolin, 1944-1998”(Polish Historiography on the Destruction of the Jews, 1945-1998), GAL-ED, XVII, ed. David Engel (Tel Aviv, 2000), 115-129.

“Zagłada Żydów w historiografii Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 1945-1998”(The Holocaust in Eastern and Central European Historiography), in Historia Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, ed. Jerzy Kłoczowski, vol.2 (Lublin, Poland: Instytut Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, 2000), 237-263.

“Sytuacja Żydów w Europie Wschodniej w latach 1945-1947 w świetle raportów przedstawicieli dyplomatycznych Wielkiej Brytanii” (The Situation of Jews in Eastern Europe from 1945-1947 in Light of British Diplomatic Reports), Biuletyn ŻIH, 181 (1997), 65-75.

“Legalna emigracja Żydów z Polski w latach 1944-1950” (Legal emigration of the Jews from Poland, 1944-1950),inStudia historyczno-demograficzne.Księga  poświęcona pamięci Profesora Szyji Bronsztejna(Studies inhistory and demography: Festschrift for Szyja Bronsztejn), ed. Krystyn Matwijowski (Wrocław, Poland: Uniwersytet Wrocławski, 1996), 147-177.

“Stosunek żydowskich partii politycznych w Polsce do emigracji”(Jewish Parties in Poland and the Question of Emigration), in Polska 1944/45-1989; Studia i Materiały II/199.

“Nielegalna emigracja Żydów z Polski 1944-1950” (Jewish Illegal Emigration from Poland 1944-1947, parts 1-3), Biuletyn ŻIH, 3/95-2/96 (175-178); 3/96 (179); 4/96 (180).

“Listy Konsula Generalnego RP w Tel-Awiwie do Ministerstwa Spraw Zagranicznych w sprawie nielegalnej emigracji Żydów”(Letters from Consul of the Republic of Poland in Tel Aviv to the Polish Foreign Office on the Question of the Jewish Illegal Emigration), Biuletyn ŻIH (172-174) (1995), 113-122.

“Obraz ludności żydowskiej w świetle ‘Nowego Kuriera Warszawskiego’ (październik 1939 - grudzień 1940)”(Images of the Jews as Presented in the German-sponsored Nowy Kurier Warszawski), in Żydzi na Dolnym Śląsku i w Polsce, ed. K. Matwijowski (Wrocław, Poland, Akta Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 1994), 199-211.


Encyclopedia Articles

“Yizkor books”, in The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture, ed. Judith Baskin, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011), 668.

“Berihah”, “Abraham Berman”, “Jacob Lestschinky”, “Bronisław Huberman”, “Mojżesz Schorr, in YIVO Encyclopaedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon D. Hundert (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), vol. 1-2.

The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations, Yad Vashem: 25 entries

Polski Słownik Biograficzny (Polish National Biography Dictionary), Cracow: PAU: “Moshe

Sneh”, “Jacob Shatzky”, “Cemach Szabad”, “Michał Szulkin”, “Izrael Szumacher”, “Natan Szwalbe”.


Recent Book Reviews

Melanie Hembera, Die Shoah im Distrikt Krakau: Jűdisches Leben und Deutsche Besatzung in Tarnów 1939-1945 (Darmstadt 2016), in: Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały 13 (2017), 790-794.

Radu Ioanid, The ransom of the Jews. The story of the extraordinary secret bargain between Romania and Israel, Chicago 2005; Dariusz Stola, Kraj bez wyjścia. Migracje z Polski 1944-1989, Warsaw 2012, in: East European Jewish Affairs vol. 47 (2017), 319-321.

Jewish Histories of the Holocaust. New Transnational Approaches, ed. Norman J.W. Goda (New York: Berghahn, 2014), in: Slavic Studies, vol. 75 nr2 Summer 2016, 475-476.

Antony Polonsky, Jews in Poland and Russia, t. 1–2 (London 2010); t. 3: (London 2012), in: Studia Judaica 18 (2015), nr 2(36), 375-392.

Zmarnowana szansa: O Miastach śmierci Mirosława Tryczyka, in: Kultural Liberalna, nr 367 (3/2016), 19 January 2016.

Robert Kuwałek, Obóz zagłady w Bełżcu (Lublin 2010), in: Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały vol. 7 (2011), 1-17.

Zagłada Żydów vol. 2-3, in: Yad Vashem Studies 37(2009), 259-284.

Joanna B. Michlic, Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present (London, 2006), in: Yalkut Moreshet, November 2007.

Barbara Engelking-Boni, Holocaust and Memory: The Experience of the Holocaust and Its Consequences: An Investigation Based on Personal Narratives (London, 2001), Holocaust and Genocide Studies, vol. 17, number 1 (spring 2003).

Jan T. Gross, Upiorna dekada. Trzy eseje o stereotypach na temat Żydów, Polaków, Niemców i komunistów 1939-1948 (A Terrible Decade: Three Essays on Stereotypes of Jews, Poles, Germans, and Communists, 1939-1948), (Cracow, Poland, 1998), in: GAL-ED, XVII, ed. David Engel, Tel Aviv 2000.

Dzieje Żydów w Polsce 1944-1968: Teksty źródłowe (History of the Jews in Poland 1944-1968: source texts), ed. A. Cała and H. Datner-Śpiewak (Warszawa, 1997), in: GAL-ED, XVII, ed. David Engel, Tel Aviv 2000.