23 February 2021: The Legacy of the Shtetl. Investigating Polish-Belarusian-Ukrainian Borderlands

A message of welcome from
Sir Ben Helfgott, 
Life Patron of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, and former Chairman


“The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies has again organised an inspiring range of events to remind us of the rich legacy of Jewish life in Poland, and in Eastern Europe more generally. Lectures, book launches, workshops and the annual conference to launch the new volume of Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry bring the state of the art in this field to a London audience. I very much look forward to join these events, many of which will also be accessible from further afield by computer.”



23 February 2021, 6pm, on zoom, with UCL IJS:
The Legacy of the Shtetl: Investigating Polish-Belarusian-Ukrainian Borderlands – with Dr Magdalena Waligórska (Humboldt University, Berlin), and Dr Natalia Romik (Warsaw), respondent, with Prof François Guesnet (UCL), Chair 
Magdalena Waligórska takes us on a journey to the Polish-Ukrainian-Belorusian borderlands where she explores small towns which had a predominantly Jewish population before the Second World War and the Holocaust. Here, Jewish property both entirely fell under the control of the new ethnic majority and remained a “disinherited heritage” (Tunbridge and Ashworth) that continues to cause dissonance and psychological discomfort to its current “heirs.” The unsettling presence of Jewish ruins, resurfacing human remains, walled-in objects, collapsing cellars, and the recycled tombstones constitutes an “intrusion of the past into the present” (Rothberg) that, decades after the war, still demands action and results in different local responses. The respondent, Natalia Romik, is an artist, urban historian, and architect from Warsaw who has undertaken similar but different explorations of the Jewish heritage in small Polish towns.

Magdalena Waligórska, Ph.D., Humboldt University Berlin and Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin, is a cultural historian and sociologist; fields of interest include contemporary Polish and Belarusian history, Jewish heritage and popular culture, Jewish/non-Jewish relations, music and identity, and memory studies.

Natalia Romik, MA, University of Warsaw; Ph.D., Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, UK, on Post-Jewish architecture of memory within former Eastern European shtetls. Natalia Romik is an artist and architect tackling the issues of urban history, and has published several articles on Jewish architecture, including Nothing is going to change?

François Guesnet is Professor in Modern Jewish History in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. He is also the Chair of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, and the co-chair of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry.

Registration: Registration is free via Eventbrite, here:


Once you have registered, you will receive your Zoom link with your Eventbrite confirmation.

This zoom link will be sent to you once again just before the lecture takes place.