Jewish Dimensions of the War in Ukraine

Kings Place, London

For centuries, Ukraine was at the centre of the Jewish world. It was the heartland of Hasidism, Zionism and modern Jewish literature, from Sholem Aleichem to Hayim Nahman Bialik.

Ukraine was also a land of pogroms and antisemitism. Today, war-torn Ukraine has about 60,000 Jews, one of whom is the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. There are Jewish fighters in the Ukrainian armed forces, synagogues and JCCs in all major cities. Dr. David Fishman, Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, directs the Jewish Archival Survey in Ukraine, which publishes guides to Jewish documents in the country’s archives. He visits Ukraine frequently, most recently in January. This special, free session will explore the following questions: How has the Jewish community fared during the war? What role has Zelensky’s Jewishness played in the unfolding events? How has Israel responded to the war in Ukraine? And what is the state of Jewish heritage in Ukraine, from old synagogues to books and documents? In conversation with Caron Sethill, Progamme Manager Europe at the National Library of Israel.

In Partnership with The National Library of Israel

Speaker biography

David E. Fishman

David E. Fishman is professor of history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, focusing on the Jews of Russia and eastern Europe. He directs the Jewish Archival Survey in Ukraine and recently co-edited Jewish Documentary Sources in Lviv Archives: A Guide. Fishman visits Ukraine frequently and publishes the weekly online newsletter The War in Ukraine: Jewish News. His book The Book Smugglers , on the “Paper Brigade” of the Vilna ghetto, won the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category.

Chair biography

Caron Sethill

Caron Sethill is Programme Manager Europe at the National Library of Israel (NLI) working to strengthen the Library's connections with Jewish Heritage institutions in Europe, and to share its collections with people working in Jewish settings in Europe.  She has developed professional training for heritage professionals, drawing on the NLI's expertise to raise awareness and to find appropriate solutions for Endangered Jewish Archives in Central Europe and beyond.

Book Week supporters

Dangoor Education
Eduard Shyfrin and Family
Genesis Foundation
Klein Family Foundation
The National Library of Israel
Pears Foundation
The Edith & Ferdinand Porjes Charitable Fund