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Theses Doctoral

The Future of the Jews: Planning for the Postwar Jewish World, 1939-1946

Rubin, Gil S.

This dissertation examines a key transformation in the history of Jewish nationalism in the 1940s - the decline of autonomist visions in Jewish national thought oriented toward Jewish life as a minority community in Eastern Europe, and the emergence of a Jewish ethnic-nation state in Palestine as the dominant mode of Jewish national expression. The main argument advanced in this dissertation is that this shift cannot be explained exclusively as a Jewish response to the Holocaust, but ought to situated as part of the larger process of the homogenization of the nation- state in East Central Europe during the war and in its immediate aftermath through genocide and ethnic cleansing, population transfers and the rejection of international norms regarding the protection of minorities. Drawing on a variety of archival and published sources in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, this study reconstructs the vibrant Jewish postwar planning scene in New- York, Palestine and London. From the start of the war tens of Jewish leaders and scholars, many whom had bee recent refugees from Europe, turned to plan for the Jewish future after the war. This dissertation examines how these Jewish leaders and thinkers grappled with the question of the future of the Jews as they debated whether Jews would be able reintegrate into Eastern Europe after the war, learned about the extermination of European Jewry and observed the ethnic transformation of the multiethnic East Central European landscape through wartime and postwar population transfers and ethnic cleansing.

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Academic Units
History
Thesis Advisors
Stanislawski, Michael
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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