Majer Bałaban and the Founding of Modern Jewish Historiography of East-Central Europe

Majer Bałaban and the Founding of Modern Jewish Historiography of East-Central Europe

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Natalia Aleksiun

Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies, New York

May 26, 2011 / 5.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Natalia Aleksiun discussed Bałaban’s contribution to the emergence of modern Jewish historiography of Polish Jewry. The presentation was focused on his vision of regional and urban studies.

Bałaban (1877-1942) – born in Lviv and educated at Jan Kazimierz University there, remained committed to studying local Jewish communities and urban centers as building blocks of East European Jewish historical scholarship. Natalia Aleksiun argues that the study of social, cultural and political history of Jews in Galicia played a central work in his research. His doctoral dissertation "Jews in Lviv at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries" as well as many scholarly and popular articles explored Jewish life in Galicia. Likewise, Bałaban’s vision of Jewish historiography shaped a generation of Jewish historians educated at the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Warsaw University. He trained over sixty students of Polish Jewish history according to the university curriculum and his understanding of scholarship. Bałaban equipped them with research skills and teaching methods. He shaped their views on the role of Jewish historians in Poland as they embarked on academic and public careers in the last decade of the Second Polish Republic.

Credits

Сover Image: Mayer Balaban. Jewish precinct / ju.org.ua