Soviet Ukraine under Nazi Occupation: Identities and Loyalties

Thursday, April 20, 2006
Room 1219, International Affairs Building, Columbia University, 420 W. 118th St.

The Ukrainian Studies Program will host a lecture by Prof. Karel Berkhoff, titled:


The talk will discuss the stance of Ukrainians in Dnipro Ukraine toward Ukrainian nationalism and Soviet communism, at the time of the Nazi occupation of 1941-1943/44.

Some historians have been arguing in recent years that already before World War II, Soviet citizens were significantly "Sovietized" and that this process accelerated during the war. Other historians have argued that the war made Ukrainians more conscious of their ethnicity and perhaps even convinced them of the need for Ukrainian political autonomy or independence.

Prof. Berkhoff will argue that throughout the Nazi occupation, Dnipro Ukrainians had no clear national identity. Nor were they were in any strong sense Soviet people. In this ideologically laden period, "no idea about how society should be organized was persuasive" (as one reviewer of the 2004 book Harvest of Despair put it). Prof. Berkhoff will also discuss a generation gap in political attitudes.

Karel C. Berkhoff is Associate Professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, an organization of the University of Amsterdam and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His book “Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule” (2004) was awarded the Wiener Library's Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, Category A.