Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute
Naama Seri-Levi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewry, and a fellow of the Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, both at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Her dissertation deals with the Polish-Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union during World War II, which eventually became the largest group of Polish Jewry to survive the Holocaust. Her research outlines the connections and networks between the refugees and the Polish Jews who remained in Poland under the Nazis during the war years and with Jews outside the Soviet Union, especially in the Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine. Many of those refugees and deportees maintained ongoing connections with family, friends and political institutions outside the Soviet Union. The extensive networks of communication included letters, packages and the search for relatives. Those networks enable us to examine what the refugees knew about the course of the war, how those refugees understood the war, their situation under Soviet rule, and the persecution of Jews and their destruction in occupied Polish territory. It also helps us understand how other Jewish communities understood the reality of the refugees and their role in Jewish history of the time.
During her stay at ŻIH, Naama will focus on the connections between the two occupied territories of Poland and beyond, after many of the refugees were exiled to Siberia, Ural and Kazakhstan.