Understanding Local Genocide: A Galician Town in the Time of the Holocaust

Thursday, May 2, 2013
6:15 pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB)

A lecture by Omer Bartov (Brown University)

The lecture will describe and analyze the mass murder of the Jewish population of Buczacz, a small town in Eastern Galicia, in 1941–44. Buczacz had been a multiethnic town for four centuries, inhabited by Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews. During the German occupation in World War II, about half of the Jewish residents were taken to extermination camps, while the other half were murdered in the town and its vicinity in what were often public acts of mass violence. The killings were accomplished with a great deal of local collaboration, especially by Ukrainian policemen and auxiliaries. In the latter part of the occupation, Ukrainian nationalist militants violently ethnically cleansed the Polish population. The lecture will investigate why this community of coexistence was transformed into a community of genocide; to what extent this was a common phenomenon at the time in Eastern Europe; and what sources can be used to reconstruct the event and understand the motivations of the protagonists.