Davis Center: Jewish Ludmir: Book Launch and Symposium


Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South S050, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Jews of Russia/Eastern Europe Seminar


Antony PolonskySerhii PlokhiiMarta Daria OlynykHarvey BudnerVolodymyr Muzychenko

Cosponsored by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Jewish Ludmir is the history of the Jewish Community of Volodymyr Volynsky and the surrounding area from 1171 to current times. It was written in Ukrainian by the present head of the Jewish Community, Volodymyr Muzychenko, and published in Ukraine in 2011. The book was translated by Marta Daria Olynyk and recently published by Academic Studies Press. Antony Polonsky, Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, wrote the Introduction to the English edition.

The Jewish community of Volodymyr Volynsky was originally composed of Jews from Kyiv, the Khazar Khanate, and other eastern communities. When the community became an important stop on a trade route from western Europe to the east, Jewish merchants from Northern France and Germany passed through and some settled there.  By the late 13th century the Jewish community included well-known rabbis. The Jewish community expanded and contracted according to economic opportunities and the level of violence in the region. Jewish Ludmir explains the organization of the Jewish community over time, its taxing and legal system, its religious groups and traditions, and its influence in larger regional Jewish institutions.  It includes material on important residents such as Shelomoh of Karlin and Khane-Rokhl Werbermacher (known as the Maiden of Ludmir). Through eyewitness accounts of Jewish survivors and Christian residents, the book details the devastation that occurred during the Nazi-led occupation and Shoah.        

A Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Oxford University, Antony Polonsky is Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University.  He received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 1999.  In 2011 he received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in Poland.  Also in 2011 the Order for Merits to Lithuania named him an Officer.  Polonsky is currently Chief Historian of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.  He is an associate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and author of a three-volume history, The Jews in Poland and Russia

Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo S. Hrushevskyi Professor of Ukrainian History and Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard. His education was at universities in the Soviet Union including Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He taught at the University of Dnipropetrovsk and at the University of Alberta, Canada.  A current interest is The Mapa: Digital Atlas of Ukraine which explains economic, historical, political, and social developments in Ukraine.  In 2013 the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard named him a Cabot Fellow for his scholarly work in history. In 2015 Plokhii received the Antonovych Prize for research in Ukrainian Studies. He is the author of ten books, the most recent being The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine.

Marta Daria Olynyk translated Jewish Ludmir, originally written and published in Ukrainian, into English. A long-time resident of Montreal, Canada, she obtained an MA in Slavic Studies from the University of Toronto. She has translated from the Ukrainian and Russian numerous articles, monographs, and books in the field of history.  Among her many publications are four volumes of Mykhailo Hrushevsky's History of Ukraine-Rus'. She worked in shortwave radio broadcasting for seventeen years at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, West Germany, and at Radio Canada International in Montreal, Canada, before becoming a full-time translator and editor.  

Dr. Harvey Budner is a mostly retired Child Psychiatrist. He trained in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and the Boston Medical Center, Boston; and in Psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. He had a private practice in Child Psychiatry for 31 years in Wayland, MA. Currently, he teaches 1st year students at Harvard Medical School. Budner’s father emigrated from Volodymyr Volynsky (Ludmir) in 1910. Dr. Budner met Volodymyr Muzychenko on a 2010 trip to Volodymyr Volynsky and subsequently helped publish Volodymyr's book in Ukrainian and then facilitated its translation and publication in English. 

Volodymyr Muzychenko, the author of Jewish Ludmir, was born in Sarny, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine in 1964.  He trained in music and balalaika performance at the Rivne Music College and in Musical Conducting at the Rivne Institute of Culture.  After two years in the Soviet army, he married and in 1988 moved to Volodymyr Volynsky where his wife had been sent for post-college community service.  At a local music school, he has taught students and has written, arranged and conducted music. He has also been the leader of the small Jewish community. Fascinated by the centuries-long history of the local Jewish community, Muzychenko spent ten years researching in archives, collecting documents, and holding conversations with residents and former residents. The result is the book Jewish Ludmir, recently published in English translation.       


Antony PolonskySerhii PlokhiiMarta Daria OlynykHarvey BudnerVolodymyr Muzychenko

Cosponsored by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037