Instructor: Jack Jacobs
Capped at 20 students.
The Bund was the first modern Jewish political party in Eastern Europe, and, arguably, the strongest Jewish party in Poland on the eve of World War Two. One hundred and twenty years after it was established, the Bund continues to be of abiding interest. In this course we will examine the Bund’s history and the development of its program. We are likely to focus particular attention on the process by which the Bund came to endorse national cultural autonomy for Russian Jewry, on its activities during the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, on the significance of the constellation of organizations which surrounded the Bund in interwar Poland (including the Bundist youth movement, women’s movement, and movement for physical education), on the fates of Bundists in the era of the Third Reich, and on the Bund’s approaches to Israel and other important matters in the post-Holocaust era. We will, in other words, discuss the reasons which underlie both the Bund’s rise and its decline, and will also debate the extent to which the Bund’s attitudes towards socialism, Zionism, and secular Yiddish culture do (or do not) have contemporary resonance.
This course will be enriched by proximity to the Bund Archives – preserved by YIVO – to which those enrolled will have access.