Dr. Lisa Moses Leff to lecture on "Rescue or Theft? The Post-War Transfer of French-Jewish Archives to the US


On Monday, October 26th, Dr. Lisa Moses Leff, Associate Professor of History at American University, will tell the story of Zosa Szajkowski, historian and archive "salvager,” who recovered and then moved thousands of documents about Jewish history from France to the US from 1940-61.  He used these documents to create the field of French Jewish history, but then sold them to US research libraries.  Leff will explore Szajkowski’s complicated motives for disposing of these documents, including money troubles, insanity, and views about where Jewish documents did or didn’t belong.  This fascinating story illuminates the connections between knowledge, document collecting, and power.  How is an archive a site of forgetting rather than remembering?  How are historians themselves affected by historical forces?  What is the relationship is between archives, memory and communal identity?

Date:        Monday, Oct. 26
Time:        7:00 pm
Location:   Blount Auditorium