UCL News


Listen: Warsaw - the History of a Jewish Metropolis

22 June 2010

UCL's Institute of Jewish Studies holds its annual international conference on the theme of Warsaw - the history of a Jewish metropolis from 22-25 June.

UCL Warsaw - the History of a Jewish Metropolis conference poster

The aim of the event, which celebrates the 70th birthday of eminent scholar Antony Polonsky, is to encourage new visions of Warsaw - one of the most dynamic metropoles in modern Jewish history.

Although compact Jewish settlement only began in the late 18th century, what emerged was one of the largest and most diverse Jewish settlements in the world on the cusp of the East-West divide. Residing in a nerve centre of the region's industrial revolution, all Warsaw's Jewish subgroups experienced the effects of modernisation.

This potent combination of a highly dynamic economic sector, divergent religious communities, and a radicalised political intelligentsia, as well as a dynamic Polish patriotic movement, fomented not only political and social change but a specific form of Jewish self-awareness. An important manifestation of this was a unique concentration of Jewish authors, publishers, editors, and an engaged Jewish reading public avidly following and discussing social, political, religious, and literary developments.

In this audio, UCL conference host Dr François Guesnet tells us more about the character of this special city and the institutions and speakers involved in this event.

To find out more about the event and to download the programme go the links below.

Image above: Conference poster image designed by Hagai Van Der Horst


UCL context

UCL houses the largest department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Europe. The department is the only one in the UK to offer a full degree course and research supervision in Jewish Studies at the BA Honours, MA, MPhil and PhD levels in every subject of Hebrew and Jewish Studies - philology, history, and literature - covering virtually the entire chronological and geographical span of the Hebrew and Jewish civilisation from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern period.