UCL European Institute


Lost worlds of East European Jewry: images and narratives

22 January 2014, 12:00 am

IF-UCL Jewry

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22 January 2014
Part of the 2013-14 series In Place(s) of Memory, which the UCL European Institute is organising with the Institut Français in London, this joint lecture features contributions from Prof Michael Berkowitz (UCL Hebrew & Jewish) and Prof Delphine Bechtel (Université Paris IV Sorbonne).

22 January 2014, 6.00pm

Gustave Tuck LT
UCL Wilkins Building
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT


Professor Delphine Bechtel (UFR d'Etudes Germaniques, Paris IV Sorbonne)
Competing memories of multicultural Jewish Lemberg: narratives and traces

Lemberg, Lwow, Lvov, Lviv has been home for centuries to Poles, Jews and Ukrainians. After the Holocaust and the expulsion of Poles following World War 2, the city has become predominantly Ukrainian and is today the centre of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Competing narratives about the past of this former multicultural city are clashing today with remnants and traces of the past, as Jews, Poles and Ukrainians are vindicating the city as their own.

Professor Michael Berkowitz (UCL Hebrew and Jewish)
European Jews and photography:  Autobiography, evasion, integrity

This presentation concentrates on the rich autobiographical work of I. J. Singer (interwar Warsaw) and Bernard Gotfryd (Radom ghetto) pertaining to their vocations in photography, also drawing on fictional and autobiographical writings of Hans Keilson, Giselle Freund, Lotte Jacobi, Alfred Stieglitz, and H. W. Barnett.  It comprises an initial attempt to integrate reflections that were specific to Jewish photographers in certain periods and cities, as well as to sketch an overall sense of the Jewish engagement with photography, which is only beginning to emerge as a scholarly subject.

Workshop: Associated with this joint lecture we are running a PhD workshop with students and staff from UCL and the Sorbonne. Very limited places still available. Please email Uta Staiger for more information and to register your interest by 5.00pm Monday 20 January


Michael Berkowitz is Professor of Modern Jewish History at University College London.  His most recent publication is "Morality Plays:  Presentations of Criminality and Disease in Nazi Ghettos and Concentration Camps and Beyond" in Disease and Crime:  A History of Social Pathologies and the New Politics of Health, ed. Robert Peckham (Routledge, 2013).  His research on Jews and photography was featured at the 32.Bielefelder Fotosymposium (November 2013) and has been supported by the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas, the Getty Institute (Los Angeles), and the British Society for the History of Science.

Delphine Bechtel holds a PhD in Yiddish studies from the Department of Germanic languages of Columbia University. She is teaching German, Central European and Yiddish literatures and cultures at the University of Paris Sorbonne and is co director of CIRCE - Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches centre-européennes. She is the author of several books including La Renaissance culturelle juive 1897-1930 (2002) and Villes multiculturelles en Europe centrale (2008). She is the editor of the series Cultures d'Europe centrale published at the University of Paris 4 Sorbonne.

IF-UCL collaboration: 'In Place(s) of Memory'
UCL and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni have recently signed an agreement to collaborate on a series of workshops over a period of three years, focusing on research in the Humanities, to build on existing and explore new links between UCL and French academic and research organisations. The UCL European Institute is organising the first year of activity under this new scheme. Entitled 'In Place(s) of Memory', the season has an interdisciplinary focus and, particularly appropriate given the centenary of the beginning of World War I in 2014, aims to offer an intellectual platform for established scholars, early career academics, and the wider public on history, memory, and commemoration.