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UAlbany Judaic Studies scholar named 2014 Balmuth Lecturer

March 25, 2014

UAlbany Judaic Studies scholar named 2014 Balmuth Lecturer

March 24, 2014

Barry Trachtenberg, UAlbany
Barry Trachtenberg

University at Albany scholar Barry Trachtenberg will present Skidmore’s 2014 Balmuth Lecture in History at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 27, in Davis Auditorium of Palamountain Hall. His title is “Bystanders, Saviors, Heirs:  Reflections on the Holocaust and American Society.” Admission is free and open to the public.

Over the past several years, a number of new and oftentimes provocative historical studies have appeared that have sought to reshape how we understand the response of the United States government, the general population, and the Jewish community to the rise of Nazism, the Holocaust, and its aftermath. Such works are concerned with the legacy of the Roosevelt administration, the reception of displaced persons after the war, and the place of Holocaust memorialization in the United States. Trachtenberg will trace the shifting historical interpretations on the United States and the Holocaust and demonstrate how they not only reflect innovations in historical research but also provide insights into the changing social position and priorities of Jews in American society.

Associate professor in the Department of History and director of the Judaic Studies Program at the University at Albany, Trachtenberg was trained in Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D.), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Oxford University (post-graduate diploma), and also holds degrees from the University of Vermont (M.A. in U.S. history) and Rowan University of New Jersey (B.A. in English). His book, The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917, examines the impact of the 1905 Russian Revolution on the formation of Yiddish scholarship. His current project, on an attempt to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia in the Yiddish language, considers the shifting agenda of Yiddish-language research and the ways that the Nazi Holocaust shaped Yiddish scholars and Diaspora Nationalists’ understanding of their task. He is also currently writing a book “The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Legacies of a Genocide” for Bloomsbury Press.

In 2011, Trachtenberg co-led the Curt C. and Else Silberman Seminar for Faculty at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. In 2013 he was an instructor at the Holocaust Educational Foundation's Annual Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University.

The Balmuth Lectures at Skidmore was inaugurated in 2001 with support from David Moses, a 1984 prize-winning government-history major, to honor Dan Balmuth, professor emeritus of history, who died in 2013.

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