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1920s

Primary Sources

Documents (13)

Image for Galician Holiday Cooking in the Letters of the Hlynskyi Family, 1890s-1920s
Galician Holiday Cooking in the Letters of the Hlynskyi Family, 1890s-1920s
The letters presented here are from the correspondence of the Hlynskyi family: the Greek Catholic priest Isidor Hlynskyi, his mother Yuliia Hlynska (née Bilynska), and Anastasia Kuzyk, the housekeeper in Isidor's household. They discuss various topics, including the festive menus of church celebrations in the Galician village of Butsniv near Ternopil, where Isidor Hlynskyi served as a priest from 1887 to 1931. The author of the first two letters, dating approximately from 1890 to 1892, is Yuliia Hlynska, the widow of the priest Kuprian Hlynskyi, Isidor's mother, who lived in Cherneliv-Ruskyi. These letters are written in Ukrainian and transcribed in Latin script. The choice of the Latin alphabet was likely influenced by Hlynska's...
Image for Letter from New Haven to Butsniv, Galicia, 1921
Letter from New Haven to Butsniv, Galicia, 1921
This unattributed letter was addressed to Anastasia Kuzyk, the housekeeper of Isidor Hlynskyi, a Greek Catholic priest from the Galician village of Butsniv, near Ternopil. Penned by a former female resident of Butsniv or one of the neighboring villages who had immigrated to America and resided in New Haven, Connecticut at the time of writing, the letter bears the date of 11 July 1921. It was composed in the aftermath of the recent Ukrainian-Polish conflict and the subsequent Ukrainian defeat. While the letter does not directly mention these events, it cautiously alludes to them, perhaps due to apprehension regarding censorship and potential repercussions for the recipients. The author reflects on her immigrant experience,...
Image for Special Report on Women’s Conditions in Soviet Industry (Dnipropetrovsk Region), 1929
Special Report on Women’s Conditions in Soviet Industry (Dnipropetrovsk Region), 1929
This document contains workers' reflections on the Soviet policy of involving women in manufacturing. The authorities intentionally collected them [reports] in order to enable a more realistic assessment of the current domestic political situation. The study of such reports became possible after Ukraine gained independence, as they were all classified during the Soviet era. Analysis of this source will allow us to see the implementation of Soviet gender policy in industry on a daily basis. The text describes the problems that women faced at work: prejudiced attitudes of men, difficult working conditions, pay inequality, the declarative nature of changes in the status of Soviet women, etc. The document records men's reactions to women's...
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Israel Joshua Singer about Yekaterynoslav in 1920s
The report by Israel Joshua Singer, a Polish writer who wrote in Yiddish, was part of his 1926 tour of the Soviet Union. The reporter's journey covered a wide region, from Moscow to the colonies near the Black Sea, and the subject of his essay touched on the lives of Jews in a new environment — large industrial cities such as Katerynoslav or Kharkiv or agricultural colonies. Israel Joshua Singer's travel notes allow us to observe the coexistence of various minorities of the Soviet Union in the new state. He looks at national politics and state initiatives such as Ukrainization from a distance and asks local Jews about their attitude and adaptation to...
Image for Reaction of the USSR workers to the Soviet-Chinese conflict in July-December, 1929
Reaction of the USSR workers to the Soviet-Chinese conflict in July-December, 1929
The presented report shows the reaction of population in the USSR to the Soviet-Chinese conflict in July-December, 1929 over the control on Chinese Eastern Railway. The text includes opinions expressed by workers from Ukrainian industrial plants and mines in their private conversations, and in the work teams. They illustrate a wide range of opinions dominating in society: from ardent support of the Soviet Union in the conflict, and calls to go to the front, to denying the need for confrontation. It must be highlighted that discussions of the condition and provisions in the Soviet Army would often end up in reflections about the causes of internal economic problems in the country. Many workers...
Image for Secret report on the moods among Kharkiv factory workers at the time of May Day holidays in 1929
Secret report on the moods among Kharkiv factory workers at the time of May Day holidays in 1929
The presented report illustrates types of information that are hard to find in other sources. Those are conversations during a celebratory demonstration. In the source text, we can see that people found pressing issues more important than party slogans. Workers were mostly interested in the availability of bread, work, and free sale of alcohol on festive days. Certainly, the quotes and statements of people presented in the report do not represent the entire range of topics discussed during the demonstrations. However, they allow us to at least take a look behind the settings of official manifestations. It is critical, for in 1929, Soviet celebration canon was still on the development stage. It is...
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Images (1)

Image for Photo of the physical exercises, Lviv, 1927
Photo of the physical exercises, Lviv, 1927
The photo is from Stepan Haiduchok collection. It is one of the series of photos of physical exercises. The format is adjusted to the composition: five women stand in one row and demonstrate the body positions as part of dynamic exercises (bending forward, arm stretching, steps). The static vertical lines of the trees in the background contrast with the movements of women. The expressiveness of the composition is built on tonal and texture contrast. The composition is divided in half by the horizon line. The background of the photos' lower part (grass) has a neutral tone, so the dark skirts and light legs are distinctly presented. Conversely, the background of the upper part...
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Audio (2)

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Legend about the “disguised emperor” during the First World War
This source is the audio recording of the legend about the events of the First World War. The storyline describes an “emperor” who was incognito inspecting his army and its provisions. The prototype for the protagonist is Franz Josef I (1830–1916), the emperor of the Austrian Hungarian Empire. This artistic image shows the elements of naive monarchism. The type of “just and kind” ruler is based on his favorable attitude to Galician Ukrainians, who he took as loyal to the Habsburgs. This social myth about the “loyal troops” consisting of Ukrainians was reflected in the prose but also in songs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Our emperor is getting old...
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Grine kuzine (Green Cousin), song about emigration, 1921
The song, with a debatable authorship, was written for a Jewish theater. It was performed both in Europe and in the United States, and it became one of the most popular migrant works. The word “green” was an ironic definition of new immigrants who did not navigate well in American reality. The song “Green Cousin” raises the issue of disappointment of migrants in America, where hard work exhausts new-comers and does not bring the expected profit. The “Columbian state” appears not as a dream country where dreams come true, but a society of inequalities. Despite the hilarious music and satirical plot, the song shows the anxiety of emigrants due to the lack of...
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Modules (2)

The Soviet government aimed to profoundly transform the styles and structures of people’s everyday lives, encompassing housing, leisure, and work. Particularly ambitious projects were conceived and executed during the 1920s and 1930s. Workers were at the forefront of Soviet social policy, with the Bolshevik Communist Party depicted in Soviet discourse as the avant-garde of the proletariat, primarily serving the interests of the working class. 
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.

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Syllabi (17)

East-Central Europe played a vital role in the global history of mass migration and experienced an enormous variety of mobility processes in the long 19th and short 20th centuries. For instance, mass emigration from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires and the Soviet Union, human trafficking, labor migration, forced migration during WWI and WWII, refugee crises and asylum, travel, and professional mobility. The voluminous scholarship on this chapter of migration history has lots of gaps and, notably, is almost absent from history curricula. This introductory course broadens our lens to examine the role of migration and mobility for the places where it occurred as well as the experiences of migrants, displaced persons, refugees, and...
This lecture course comparatively and transnationally investigates twentieth-century communism as a modern civilization with a global outreach. It looks at the global spread of communism as an ideology, an everyday experience, and a form of statehood in the Soviet Union, Europe, Asia (i.e.Mao’s China), and post-colonial Africa. With the exception of North America and Australia, communist regimes were established on all continents of the world. The course will examine this historical process from the October Revolution (1917) to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (1986), which marked the demise of the communist state. The emphasis is not just on state-building processes or Cold War politics but primarily on the social, gender, cultural and economic policies that...
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.
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...
When the well-known German author Alfred Döblin visited Lviv in 1924 he wrote: “Lviv is a lively, medium-sized, western, modern town; its streets are peaceful and bustling with life. But suddenly something strange confronts me. This city lies in the arms of two enemies, each of whom wants to dominate it. Subterranean enmity and violence are fermenting in the background”. Döblin, the son of assimilated German Jews from Stettin, also commented on the undercurrent of antiSemitism and voiced his fears, especially for the many poor Jews living in the city. (Alfred Döblin, ReisenachPolen).
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 is devoted to the analysis of representations of Ukrainian territory as a multicultural space during the "long" revolutionary period of 1917-30. We will examine different types of representations (scholarly papers, memoirs, plays, films, stories) and the features of the coexistence of ethnic communities in different parts of Ukraine and at different stages of the revolutionary period. Our overall aim will be to try to forget the familiar narrative of the "Ukrainian Revolution" and "national liberation struggle" and explore the diversity of historical materials and representations, which are not included in the narrative. By studying the events from nearly a century ago, we can better understand the events of 2014.
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.