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Simon Wiesenthal Lectures

 

The Simon Wiesenthal lecture series takes place regularly every six to eight weeks and aims to present the latest research findings on the Holocaust to both a professional and a broader audience. They take into account the impressive spectrum of this discipline, the numerous questions and issues from empirical-analytical historiography to topics of cultural studies and involve young scholars as well as established academics.

 

Since 2007, when the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) was still being established, the lecture series – at that time in cooperation with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna– has developed into the flagship of the VWI's outreach activities as a supporting element in the communication of recent academic findings in the field of Holocaust research and Holocaust and genocide studies.

 

For over a decade, the Austrian State Archives generously offered shelter to the Simon Wiesenthal Lectures in the roof foyer of the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv. During the challenging years of the pandemic, the lectures were held online. From autumn 2022, in order to reach out to further audiences, a new cooperation partner was found in the Wien Museum. Until the reopening of the main location at Karlsplatz, the SWL will take place at MUSA, Felderstraße 6-8, next to the Vienna City Hall.

 

 

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Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
Brendan McGeever: Bolsheviks and Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution
   

Thursday, 16. November 2017, 18:30 - 20:00

Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs 1010 Wien, Minoritenplatz 1

 

The Bolsheviks came to power with the promise of building a world free of any forms of oppression. These sentiments were put to the test as a devastating wave of anti-Jewish violence broke out across the western borderlands of the former Russian empire. The pogroms posed fundamental questions of the revolutionary project, since they revealed the nature and extent of working class and peasant attachments to antisemitism. Based on archival materials, this talk will explore the significance of antisemitism in the Russian Revolution. It will examine how class politics could sometimes overlap with antisemitism, in the Red Army in particular.

In addition, the lecture will explore the as-yet untold history of how the Bolsheviks responded to the antisemitism that emerged within their own ranks. By bringing into focus the forms of individual and collective agency that actualised the Soviet response to antisemitism, the talk will challenge long-held assumptions about the Bolshevik record in this area. The lecture will reveal that the key agent in the Soviet response to antisemitism was not the Bolshevik party leadership, but a small grouping of non-Bolshevik Jewish socialists who coalesced around the peripheral apparatuses of the nascent Soviet state. Unlike well-known Jewish Communists such as Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg, these non-Bolshevik Jewish radicals were comparatively less well traversed along the paths of assimilation. Their response to antisemitism was intimately bound up in specifically Jewish forms of revolutionary politics like Bundism and Marxist Zionism.

Brendan McGeever is Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution (forthcoming in 2018). For the academic year 2017-2018, he will be the Acting Associate Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London.

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:

 

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