This Was Not America: A Wrangle Through Jewish-Polish-American History is a new book featuring a conversation, often contentious, between Michael Steinlauf, historian of Polish-Jewish culture and child of Holocaust survivors, and the anthropologist and artist Elzbieta Janicka. The conversation touches on critical moments in Jewish, Polish, and American history, including fleeing the Warsaw Ghetto, living underground fighting for social justice in 1960s’ Seattle, and helping dismantle the communist system in 1980s’ Poland. Beyond individual biography, the talk ranges from the apparition of a dybbuk in postwar Brooklyn to the consequences of a non-critical approach to Polish-Jewish studies. Join YIVO for a discussion of this unique new book with co-authors Steinlauf and Janicka led by YIVO’s own Eddy Portnoy.
About the Speakers
Michael Steinlauf is the author of Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust as well as numerous studies of Jewish culture in prewar Poland. He was one of the founders of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Currently he is completing studies of the Polish Jewish dramatist Mark Arnshteyn and the Yiddish culture hero Y. L. Peretz.
Elzbieta Janicka is a literary scholar and visual artist. She is the author of Sztuka czy Naród? [Art or Nation?] and Festung Warschau, exposing violence and exclusion embedded in Polish dominant culture, as well as numerous studies of Polish antisemitism. Most recently she co-authored Philosemitic Violence. Poland’s Jewish Past in New Polish Narratives (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021).
Eddy Portnoy, the Senior Academic Advisor & Director of Exhibitions at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, is the author of Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press.
Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/This-Was-Not-America