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Grants in North America

Lives of the Great Patriotic War: The Untold Stories of Jewish Soldiers in the Soviet Red Army During WWII

Lives of the Great Patriotic War: The Untold Stories of Jewish Soldiers in the Soviet Red Army During WWII

The Blavatnik Archive Foundation manages a private collection of postcards, documents, photographs and oral testimonies pertaining to 19th and 20th century Jewish history.

The Blavatnik Archive Foundation manages a private collection of postcards, documents, photographs and oral testimonies pertaining to 19th and 20th century Jewish history. Through this project, and with the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Blavatnik Archive sought to educate the academic community and the public about an important and largely unknown chapter of Jewish history: the participation of Jewish soldiers in the Soviet Red Army during World War II.

In 2011, an exhibit entitled Lives of the Great Patriotic War: The Untold Stories of Jewish Soldiers in the Soviet Red Army during WWII, as well as a series of lectures and discussion panels, took place at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. War-time diary and letter excerpts from individual soldiers were on display, as well as recent interviews where veterans reflect upon their lives and path to victory during the war, pre-war Jewish life, valor and fear in combat, Nazi atrocities, mourning for loved ones, and ultimate victory.

Prior to the opening of the exhibition, the inaugural volume of a Russian and English-language periodical publication, entitled “Lives of the Great Patriotic War: The Untold Stories of Jewish Soldiers in the Soviet Red Army during WWII,” combined academic historical context, individual veteran testimonies, and powerful archival visuals.

In 2013, the Archive began the WWII Russian Jewish Veteran Oral History Project, which paired university students with professors in the field of Russian Jewish history, in order to process and index a selection of veteran interviews. Based at New York University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Michigan, this project marked the first step in the Archive’s effort to make the veteran interviews available for widespread use by leading educational institutions.

Financial support for these programs was provided by Genesis Philanthropy Group in partnership with the Blavatnik Family Foundation, David Berg Foundation, and 92nd Street Y.

Goals and Objectives

  • Introduce American Jews to the heroic experiences of Soviet Jewish soldiers during World War II and their contribution to the allied victory.
  • Develop and enhance Russian-speaking Jews’ connections with one another and with the American Jewish community.
  • Create an authoritative source for information about the history of Russian-speaking Jewish WWII veterans, thus educating the younger generation about this important chapter in Jewish history.

Current Grants

Past Grants