Eastern European Holocaust Studies. Interdisciplinary Journal of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center 1 (2023), 1

Titel der Ausgabe 
Eastern European Holocaust Studies. Interdisciplinary Journal of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center 1 (2023), 1
Weiterer Titel 
The Holocaust in Ukraine: Literary Representation

Berlin/Boston 2023: De Gruyter Oldenbourg
Open Access


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Florian Hoppe, Geisteswissenschaften, De Gruyter Oldenbourg

Wir freuen uns sehr, bekanntgeben zu können, dass das erste Heft der neuen Zeitschrift Eastern European Holocaust Studies im Open Access erschienen ist! Wir wünschen anregende Lektüre!

Special Issue: The Holocaust in Ukraine: Literary Representation
Guest Editor: Helena Duffy



Oleksiy Makukhin
Introduction 1

Andrea Peto
Editorial Introduction 3

Open Forum, edited by Tobias Wals, Andrea Petö

Tobias Wals
Introduction 5

Kai Struve
Should There Be One Universal Narrative for Remembering the Holocaust? 7

Omer Bartov
Should There Be One Universal Narrative for Remembering the Holocaust? On a Universal Narrative of the Holocaust and Remembering the Past in Ukraine 13

Victoria Grace Walden
Is Digitalization a Blessing or a Curse for Holocaust Memorialization? 17

Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Who Are the Memory Owners of Memorial Sites? The Question of Memorial Ownership and the Case of Babyn Yar 23

Olena Palko
How Does Jewish Identity Relate to Modern-Day Ukrainian Identity? Beyond the Refrain of “Do not Divide the Dead”: Othering the Jews as a Technology of Power in the Soviet Union 31

Yuri Radchenko
How Does Jewish Identity Relate to Modern-Day Ukrainian Identity? 37


Marta Havryshko
A Holocaust Researcher and the War 43

Yurii Kaparulin
Open Forum 47

Petro Dolhanov
Russian War, Neocolonialism and Holocaust Studies in Ukraine 49

“Never Again!” Roundtable Organized by Eastern European Holocaust Studies and the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre 53

Alexandra M. Szabó
Interview with Karen Jungblut 69

Dossier: The Holocaust in Ukraine: Literary Representation, edited by Helena Duffy

Helena Duffy
The Holocaust in Ukraine: Literary Representations 79

Sue Vice
Rachel Seiffert’s A Boy in Winter (2017) and the Literary Construction of Ukraine 89
This article analyses the literary representation of Nazi-occupied Ukraine in Rachel Seiffert’s 2017 novel A Boy in Winter. It does so by exploring the novel’s documentary and fictional influences, from which its concern with the genocide of the Jews and the German colonization of the East is crafted. The alterations and omissions from the historical accounts and the novel’s use of modernist literary techniques combine in a way that resembles the methods of other examples of Holocaust fiction, but in this case to create a distinctive allegorical mode. The article concludes by arguing that ultimately the most significant influence on A Boy in Winter is a novel from almost a century earlier, Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March (1932).

Helena Duffy
Ukrainians in French Holocaust Literature: Piotr Rawicz’s Blood from the Sky and Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones 107

This article compares and contrasts the representational strategies used by Piotr Rawicz and Jonathan Littell in their Holocaust novels. Separated by 40 years, Le Sang du ciel (1961) (Blood from the Sky) and Les Bienveillantes (2006) (The Kindly Ones) differ in terms of structure, style, and point of view. The article examines the import of these strategies for the way Rawicz’s and Littell’s narratives portray Ukrainians. Its main contention is that, while casting Ukrainians primarily as complicitous in the Holocaust, the two novels frame their complicity with Ukraine’s wartime hopes for sovereignty which it hoped to achieve through collaboration with Hitler’s Germany. By foregrounding Ukraine’s protracted statelessness, oppression by Russia (and later the Soviet Union), and exploitation by Polish landowning gentry, the two novels succeed at offering a nuanced view of Ukrainians without, however, redeeming them.

Anna P. Ronell
On the Journey Through Ukraine: Representations of the Holocaust in Friedrich Gorenstein’s Traveling Companions 127

For about three decades now, there has been an ongoing shift towards Geocritical literary analysis so that reading literature historically is now often supplemented by reading literature geographically, foregrounding the most significant political and natural features of the landscape (borders; big cities; shtetlach; mountains; valleys; rivers; forests), as well as the “mindset” of the population and the major historical events associated with them. Friedrich Gorenstein’s novel Traveling Companions (1989) is devoted most explicitly and holistically to the Holocaust in Ukraine and the dynamics of its spatial representation. Gorenstein also writes in a palimpsest mode: he simultaneously works with multiple layers of memory, not all of it his own, inscribed onto particularly Jewish spaces imbued with dense layers of historical events, ideational developments, and living experiences. The concepts of literary territoriality and the treatment of place, space, flow, and movement in literature and culture, including the interplay between the geographies of the ‘real’ and the geographies of the ‘imaginary’ are critical for the understanding of temporal-spatial displacements employed by Gorenstein as he attempts to reconstruct and interpret the textual map of the Holocaust in Ukraine. Gorenstein’s writing grapples with the complex relationship between the geographical space of Ukraine and the memory of the Holocaust and exposes his readers to the permutations of Jewish history and geography while focusing on the concepts of uprootedness, homelessness, and alienation as well as mass murder and irredeemable evil.

Jonathan Littell and Helena Duffy
Is It Right to Talk About the Holocaust in Ukraine Now? An Interview with Jonathan Littell, the Author of The Kindly Ones 147

Research Articles

Victoria Khiterer
Unwelcome Return Home: Jews, Anti-Semitism and the Housing Problem in Post-War Kyiv 155

The article discusses the aftermath of the Holocaust in Kyiv and shows what factors contributed to the sharp rise of state and popular anti-Semitism in the city in the post-war years. During the Nazi occupation, Babyn Yar in Kyiv became one of the largest Holocaust killing grounds, where the Nazis and their local collaborators exterminated almost all Jews who remained in the city. When surviving Jews returned to Kyiv from evacuation and the fronts, gentiles frequently refused to hand over apartments to the pre-war occupants. Jewish appeals to the authorities often were denied. The authorities, many of whom shared the anti-Semitic mood of much of the local population, usually refused to help returning Jews claim their property. A Jewish pogrom broke out in Kyiv in September 1945, when sixteen Jews were killed and over 100 injured. The harshness of life in the ruined city, the severe shortage of apartments and the rise of the anti-Semitism overlapped in Kyiv and brought about an explosion of anti-Jewish violence in the city. The Soviet authorities attempted to suppress popular anti-Semitism in Ukraine after the war but failed. Then they adopted the policy of state anti-Semitism in 1948–1953.

Martin Christopher Dean
Forced Labor Camps for Jews in Reichskommissariat Ukraine: The Exploitation of Jewish Labor within the Holocaust in the East 175

Using mainly survivor testimonies, more than 120 forced labor camps for Jews have been identified in Reichskommissariat (Rk) Ukraine, a larger number than previously known. Many were road construction camps along Transit Highway IV, where living conditions were harsh and Jews that fell sick were routinely shot. Similar camps also extended eastward into the Dniprpetrovsk and Cherkasy regions. In addition, a few camps for Jews engaged in bridge construction were established on the fringes of Rk Ukraine, using the labor of Jews from Transnistria. In the Volynia, Rivne, and Brest regions the Germans also established camps for work in agriculture, peat-digging, forestry, lumber, and for skilled craftsmen. The Jews in most of these camps were killed by the end of 1942, either together with the inmates of nearby ghettos, or separately a few weeks later. The location of many camps in the countryside facilitated the escape of some Jews. A few remnant ghettos, such as that in Volodymyr-Volynsky, existed into 1943. Little trace remains of these camps today, even where the Jewish gravesites have been marked by memorial stones.

Samantha Hinckley and Christin Zühlke
More than Meets the Eye – The Intricate Relationship between Selfies at Holocaust Memorial Sites and Their Subsequent Shaming 197

As the ethical barriers surrounding ‘digital Holocaust etiquette’ remain contested, scholars like Daniel Magilow and Lisa Silverman question whether there can be unwritten rules of behavior at sites of historical trauma. Because of significant shifts in the digital arena, too, legacy types of memory formation, such as collective memories associated with physical spaces, are being challenged by a new type of digital archive that is both active and passive. This article seeks to interrogate the socio-psychological aspects of selfies taken at Holocaust memorial sites and of their subsequent shaming. We wish to juxtapose current research findings with the public audience’s reaction to these photos after they have been posted on social media. In many respects, commenters may offer insight into a larger phenomenon outside of what is deemed appropriate in terms of Holocaust memory. Our article may not provide solutions or easy answers, but this is not our goal. Rather, our research aims to point to the complex, often uncomfortable, nature of this topic due to the fact that selfies encapsulate both micro and macro histories, reality and virtual reality, and a shift in traditional types of memory formation.

Sources, edited by Andrea Löw, Marta Havryshko

Yurii Kaparulin
Eyewitness Account of the Nazi Occupation in the South of Ukraine: Diary of a Kherson Resident 215

On March 31, 1944, Captain of Justice G.V. Shliamar, an investigator of the Military Prosecutor’s Office (a member of the Extraordinary State Commission), examined a diary with entries about the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Kherson, which was sent to the military prosecutor’s office and eventually ended up in the archives of the commission in Moscow. The introductory article to the diary describes the historical context and the time of its creation. The source contains a description of events from July 5 to September 15, 1941, which allows us to trace the situation in Kherson and Southern Ukraine during the first months of the German–Soviet war. In particular, the author of the diary recorded the creation of a Jewish ghetto in Kherson, shortly before its liquidation and the organization of mass murder of the city’s Jewish population. Preparation of the diary for publication began in 2021, 80 years after the occupation of Kherson by German troops. On March 2, 2022, during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, Kherson was occupied by Russian troops. This caused historical parallels, in particular through the instrumentalization of the history of the Second World War during the Russian aggression.

Historiography, edited by Jan Lanicek
Jan Láníček
Overview of the Recent Historiography 241

Ildikó Barna
Post-Holocaust Transitional Justice in Hungary – Approaches, Disputes, and
Debates 247

The article examines post-Holocaust transitional justice in Hungary, starting with a concise overview of the establishment and functioning of the Hungarian people’s tribunal system. It then explores historians’ approaches in analyzing these tribunals, including “grand trials” and micro-historical analyses of prominent individuals’ cases published after 1989. The paper deals with the connection between the Holocaust and the people’s tribunals, as well as the gendered analysis of these proceedings. Furthermore, it delves into the contentious issues and debates surrounding the people’s tribunals, encompassing questions about their definition, legal legitimacy due to retrospective justice, effectiveness, and potential exploitation by the Hungarian Communist Party for power consolidation and elite transformations. Lastly, the paper explores the divided memory of the people’s tribunals.

Emanuel-Marius Grec
Romania: Historiography on Holocaust and Postwar Justice Studies 259

Research on the Holocaust in Romania does, as an area of research, fare so much better than other case studies in terms of interest and researchers dedicating their time to study it. In this context, a brief overview of historiography on the Holocaust in Romania must take into account a few key factors: access to archives on Holocaust-related files, evolution of the subject within larger historical narratives of Romanian history of the 20th century, trends in Holocaust research in the last few years both in Romania and abroad, as well as the dynamic between historical research and public memory in Romania. Nevertheless, and in relation to this historiographical forum, despite its relative development, one aspect related to the Holocaust in Romania has drawn significantly less scholarly attention: war crimes trials and the efforts at postwar justice. Because of this under-research, although the documentation is especially relevant in terms of archives, the following contribution focuses on the importance of the study of the postwar trials for the field after outlining the main features of the historiography on the Holocaust in Romania.

Tomasz Frydel
Transitional Justice and the Holocaust in Poland 271

The Communist seizure of power is generally regarded as the key context of the transitional justice that characterized the prosecution of Nazi criminals and collaborators in postwar Poland, which naturally affected trials related to the Holocaust. Some of the guiding questions of this scholarship have asked the following: Should postwar trials be understood as “real” trials as opposed to staged political trials? To what extent did they allow for an expression of the distinctiveness of the Holocaust? Did the trials help or inhibit the creation of a space for Jewish voices and agency? The current state of research points to two emerging stories of Polish judicial reckoning with the Holocaust “behind the Iron Curtain.” On the one hand, scholars increasingly agree that the trials were not politically orchestrated but were generally conducted in the spirit of the rule of law, comparable to those held in Western European courts. Further, the Polish contribution to the prosecution of Nazi perpetrators is regarded as exceptional and successful in delivering some measure of justice. On the other hand, research into trials of Polish grassroots perpetrators of anti-Jewish crimes points to a failure in reaching a meaningful judicial and societal reckoning.

Reviews, edited by Elenore Lappin-Eppel, Katarzyna Liszka

Sara Herczyńska
Through the Distorted Mirror. Natalia Romik’s “Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival” 287

Denisa Nešťáková
Joanna Sliwa. 2021. Jewish Childhood in Kraków: A Microhistory of the Holocaust 293

Serhiy Hirik
Albert Venger, ed. Stalindorfs’kyi raion: dokumenty i materialy 297

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