REESOURCES
Rethinking Eastern Europe
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1900s

Primary Sources

Documents (10)

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Excerpt of Lesya Ukrainka’s letter to Mykhailo Kryvyniuk about “fraternal peoples” 1903
A writer Larysa Kosach [Lesya Ukrainka], in a letter to a friend, an ideological and political like-minded member of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, at that time a forced emigrant from the Russian Empire settled in Lviv, Mykhailo Kryvyniuk, writes his impressions of the publishing discussions that took place during those times in Russian liberal circles on the matter of non-Russian languages and the general language policy of Russian “oppositionists” of the early twentieth century.
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The echo of the Russian revolutionary events of 1905 in Lviv in the interpretations of the local press
On Monday, January 31, 1905, the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and Silesia (PPSD) initiated a meeting at the People's Theater on Shainokha Street in Lviv to discuss the revolutionary situation in Russia. Four Lviv newspapers (Gazeta Lwowska, Dilo, Kurjer Lwowski, Słowo Polskie) covered this event differently, depending on their ideological positions, political agenda, and target audiences. These publications reflect the ideological palette of the leading newspapers of the then Galicia about one historical event. This source allows us to analyze the algorithms of the design and functioning of information policies and the impact of the press.
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Letter of Lesya Ukrainka to Mykhailo Pavlyk about Ukrainian subordination to two different empires, 1903
An author Larysa Kosach [Lesya Ukrainka], in her letter to the Ukrainian politician, a subject of the Austrian Empire, Mykhaylo Pavlyk, writes about the plan for her emigration from Russia. The letter was written in 1903 from San Remo, where the writer was undergoing medical treatment. That is why the author could afford writing quite frankly, without hiding in front of the then Russian imperial censorship. Otherwise, in case of getting the letter, they would only let it pass sometimes. At least the Soviet censorship had not missed the most interesting fragment of the Ukrainka' message. They deleted it from the publication in the 12-volume edition of the writer's works compiled in 1979....
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Polish émigré song, 1918-1939
The socialist movement actively tried to attract emigrant workers. The theme of the hard labour of workers in factories or sweatshops appears in the works of socialists, who were often emigrants themselves. Some songs were anthems, and were created for that collective singing. An example of this is the Polish émigré song. There, emigrants leave their native land because of social injustice. Landlords, magnates, and priests are opposed to oppressed workers or soldiers who returned from the war and did not receive the expected guarantees. At the same time, the song emphasizes the temporary nature of emigration, because emigrants will return to their native land to make a revolution.
Image for Mykhailo Zubrytskyi. Our Emigration, Dilo, 1902
Mykhailo Zubrytskyi. Our Emigration, Dilo, 1902
Mykhailo Zubrytskyi is a Greek Catholic priest and a public figure who analyzes the phenomenon of migration to the United States from the Carpathian village of Lyutovytska, in the Ukrainian newspaper Dilo. The author describes the migration strategies of peasants, the stages of the migration process, adaptation to a new place, and difficulties with returning. Although the text focuses on Ukrainian migration, the author mentions Jews who were also leaving for the United States, as well as Jews who acted as intermediaries in migration. At the same time, for the author, as for a public figure, the influence of migration on Galicia was important, which he saw as multidimensional. Migration meant the outflow...
Image for Excerpt from the Ben Reisman autobiography, a native of the Galician town Kalush, who emigrated to America in 1896
Excerpt from the Ben Reisman autobiography, a native of the Galician town Kalush, who emigrated to America in 1896
The autobiography was sent to a competition of migrant autobiographies organized by the YIVO Jewish Institute. Its author is Ben Reisman from the Galician town of Kalush, who recalls his childhood in Galicia, his arrival to America in 1896, and his involvement in the socialist movement. The selected passage shows the process of travel and the importance of a network of social contacts between migrants from the same region. Such connections made it possible and easier to make a decision on migration, job search, or an adaptation to a new place. One of the typical moments of involvement in a new place is interest in politics. Ben Reisman arrived in the United States...
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Images (3)

Image for “Jewish Grandmother”, photo by Lewis Hine
“Jewish Grandmother”, photo by Lewis Hine
Lewis Hine (1874-1940) was an American photographer who tried to draw attention to social issues such as migration or child labor. He took two series of photos on Ellis Island, an island near New York City that was the first stop and gateway for new arrivals. Photos of Lewis Hine are trying to show the identity of migrants, who were often exoticized and othered in the American press. The Jewish woman in the photo is dressed in clothes that do not distinguish her from other migrants from Eastern Europe. However, although Jewish migration was often also motivated by economic motives, in the public discourse and historiography of the early twentieth century, it was...
Image for “Slavic Mother”, photo by Lewis Hine
“Slavic Mother”, photo by Lewis Hine
Lewis Hine (1874-1940) was an American photographer who tried to draw attention to social issues such as migration or child labor. He took two series of photos on Ellis Island, an island near New York City that was the first stop and gateway for new arrivals. Photos of Lewis Hine are trying to show the identity of migrants, who were often exoticized and othered in the American press. The name of the photo "Slavic Mother" shows that Eastern Europe for Americans was still a space, which differences and nuances they hardly noticed. Hine perceives the woman in the photo as a person who left Europe forever, taking along all her posessions, and having...
Image for Advertising leaflet of Zofia Biesiadetska’s bureau
Advertising leaflet of Zofia Biesiadetska’s bureau
Zofia Biesiadetska's office in Oswiecim in Western Galicia was organizing transportation to America. The promotional leaflet offers tickets for steamboats to America and Canada. The transport revolution in the 19th century proved to be one of the most important factors that enabled mass intercontinental migration. Transport was relatively convenient and fast, as well as relatively inexpensive. With the beginning of mass migration, networks of agents developed, like Zofia Biesiedetska's bureau, who helped with the organization of the trip. This facilitated the migration of people from villages or small towns. At the same time, agents were often accused of lack of integrity and profiteering on migrants. Biesiadetska Bureau was one of the most respectable...
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Videos (1)

Image for The Morality of Mrs. Dulska, 2013 TV Movie [Moralność pani Dulskiej]
The Morality of Mrs. Dulska, 2013 TV Movie [Moralność pani Dulskiej]
It is a screen adaptation of the same name work by the Polish writer Gabriela Zapolska, written in 1906. The play's plot reveals the problem of social inequalities and moral degradation of the Galician society at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where these inequalities were crucial. The author chose female characters as protagonists. According to literary critics, the prototype of the main character in this text, Aneli Dulska, was a prominent Lviv-based author, Mrs. Golanbova (pani Gołąbowa). The prototype’s name is also associated with a Lviv woman named Czeslawa Dulska. In response to a survey published in 1905 by the famous local newspaper Wiek Nowy, she described her housekeeping system...
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Audio (1)

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A brivele der mamen (A Little Letter to Mama), song about emigration, 1907
The song was written by a Belarusian composer and singer, Solomon Smulewitz (1868-1943) in 1907. The author also had experience of migration to the United States. The song became very popular. In particular, it was used as a basis for a theatrical production and a film in Yiddish. The work raises the issue of migration caused separation of families. While the son who went to America has a successful life and a new family, his mother feels abandoned. Before her death, she asks her son not to forget to read Kaddish, a memorial prayer for her. The problem of separated families remained common to all migrants, but in this text the Jewish prayer...
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Modules (2)

The end of the 19th century through the beginning of the 20th century is known as the period of mass migration from Europe to other continents, when more than 55 million people changed their place of residence. In particular, this process captured the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, where a difficult economic situation, job shortages, and persecutions stirred various groups of the population to leave. Such groups included both Ukrainian and Polish peasants, and Jews from urban centers who were small-scale craftsmen or workers. Most often, they moved to the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil, where labor was needed at factories or farms.
In the 19th century, the gender pact dividing public and private spheres, as man-owned and women-inhabited, found its most solid reasoning. The separation of the private and the public was accelerated by the Industrial Revolution when it fixed a role of the key “bread-winner” for the man. The gender-divided lines of responsibility have certainly existed before the 19th century, but the role of women in family economy before the Industrial Revolution was much more visible. Since the Enlightenment era, the idea of the private and the public (as female and male, respectively) has been included into legal codes of most European states. This way, the new economic order was enshrined in the law...

Digital stories (1)

The three stories presented in this text are dedicated to three different women united by one city. Sharing a common urban space, they experienced it in different ways, given their different social positions, status and starting opportunities. The time in which they had to live their lives was in one way or another reflected in microstories from the life of each of these women. The first story is dedicated to Maria Hrushkevych, a long-time employee of the Lviv post office, who was among the "first" women employed by the state. In the second, Maria Linchak will be talked about, who was a maid in the house of Teofil and Liudmyla Hrushkevych, a chorister...

Reflections

Texts (0)

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Podcasts (0)

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Syllabi (15)

The field of social history has achieved the edge of its popularity in 1950-1980s. It was strongly connected with other disciplines, such as economics, demography, sociology, and allowed historians to reach a much wider range of research themes. Since the 1960s, the social history of the Jewish people became important and influential part of the studies. Historians were exploring the possibilities to study Jewish community with new tools and integrating different representatives of Jewish community – workers, women, immigrants, criminals - in a research. Since 1990s historians of Jewish past shifted their interest to cultural studies. However, in the last years, we can see an economic turn, which signifies the search for a...
The aim of the course is to get to know how to analyze examples of visual culture, including: fiction films and documentaries, video, photography. Both contemporary and historical materials will be studied, together with theoretical texts and publications (from the area of film and media studies, anthropology, cultural studies and history. Although images are mostly seen, if you want to really know them and understand them really well, you must not only "see" them but also "read" them, that means to analyze them as a complex message/ text. That is why at our course we will firstly discuss some terms and categories, that would help us to read images such as: composition, convention,...
This course forms a part of Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th-20th Centuries summer school. The syllabus is availible only in Polish.
This course was a part of Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th-20th Centuries summer school. The syllabus is written in Polish.
The course aims to discuss the major military conflicts of the twentieth century from a gender perspective. In doing so, the course covers the history of global and local wars in a wide variety of regions, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. However, rather than surveying a vast number of military conflicts, we will use a case study approach to conduct in-depth analyses of external and internal dynamics of military encounters and the role of gendered violence during them.
In our mini-course we will explore cultural interaction between Jews and non-Jews (Ukrainians, Poles, Russians) in the borderlands of the Habsburg and Romanov empires. This is interaction that may have been conscious or unconscious, and may have involved encounter, appropriation, negotiation, exchange and destruction.
The course intends to show the possibilities afforded by applying the gender (cultural sex) perspective in the study of Jewish culture. Proceeding from the analysis of the role of the woman and man in traditional Jewish society, we will present gender difference in the process of modernization among Jewish women and men. In looking at autobiographical materials, we will trace characteristic stages and stories, as well as life’s choices of Jewish maskilim (advocates of Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment). We will use the examples of the life and work of Pua Rakowska (known as "the Grandmother of Zionism") and Sara Szenirer (reformer of the traditional education system of Jewish girls) to analyze the problem...
This short course looks at Jewish history in the context of two multinational empires: the Russian and the Habsburg. Both of these states must be understood as fundamentally pre-modern, non-national (even anti-national) political structures, a fact that is crucial for understanding Jewish history here. In the mid-19th century, the great majority of world Jewry made its home in this region and even at the end of the First World War, after the great wave of emigration to the Americas, western Europe, Erets Israel / Palestine, and South Africa, the Jewish presence here was considerable. In 1918 even antisemites could hardly imagine a Warsaw, Wilno, Lwów, Odesa (etc.) without Jews.
Our main focus in this class will consist in Jewish experiences with cities in the twentieth century. Geographically, our center of attention will be Central and Eastern Europe (with our main – but not exclusive – emphasis on territories that, at one point or the other, came under Soviet rule); chronologically, we will concentrate (unevenly) on the period between the end of the First World War and the end of the Soviet Union. In particular, the Holocaust and the Second World War were events of central and terrible importance for this period and area. Accordingly, we will pay special attention to them.
Ukraine’s twentieth century was tragically marked by much politically motivated violence and authoritarian regimes as well as movements, from the radical left and the radical right. These forces and events did not only do great harm in the past but left memories and legacies that are still challenging to contemporary Ukraine. In this class, we will focus on several key issues of history, memory, and politics. The readings cannot be exhaustive. Instead, our aim is to read and discuss a sample of important short texts that allow us to reflect more broadly on the underlying questions.
This course was a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school (July 13 – August 7, 2015. Center for Urban History. Lviv, Ukraine).
This course was a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school.
This course forms a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school. The syllabus is available only in Polish.
This course forms a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school.
The course will cover the major development of the East European Jewry from the mid-eighteenth century till the present. More specifically, it will focus on the apparently largest category of modern Jewish history, i.e. modernity itself. The course will start with the discussion of what modernity means in contemporary scholarly discourse, and—more specifically—how it is applied today in historiography of East European Jewry. This introduction will provide a frame for the focus of the course: the analysis of the changing life patters and differing strategies of adopting, rejecting, or negotiating modernity in every-day lives of East European Jews.