Dr Thomas Chopard, Jewish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow

The First Catastrophe of Central and East European Jewry : Wars, Pogroms, Displacements and Survival (1914-1924)

Thomas Chopard recently completed his PhD at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales (EHESS), in Paris, France. His dissertation focuses on anti-Jewish violence in Ukraine, during and after the 1917 revolution. This moment formed the worst anti-Jewish persecution before the Holocaust: 100,000 Jews died during pogroms; probably as many women were raped. More generally, a million Jews, half of the Jewish population of Ukraine, suffered from persecution. Civil war in Ukraine was a turning point in Jewish history but also in the history of anti-Semitism, with the rise of a new kind of anti-Jewish prejudice, socially, economically, politically and sometimes racially rooted, usually summarized in the figure of “judeo-bolshevism”.

As a postdoctoral fellow in Jewish studies at the IHR, Thomas Chopard will deepen the issues of his doctoral work by extending the chronological and geographical scales. Especially by integrating the anti-Jewish persecution within a broader context of suspicion against minorities in Europe at war and by considering anti-Jewish pogroms and violence in Belarus, Poland and Romania, alongside Ukraine. Finally, this research seeks to understand how war and persecution deeply shaped the spatial and social repartition of interwar Jewish populations in Central and Eastern Europe.