Universty at Albany

Campus Update

Holocaust Expert Trachtenberg to Research Landmark Encyclopedia

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150, (mediarelations@uamail.albany.edu)

Barry Trachtenberg
Barry Trachtenberg
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 27, 2008) – Assistant professor of Judaic studies Barry Trachtenberg has been awarded $6,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities to research Di algemeyne entsiklopedye (The General Encyclopedia), the first and most comprehensive encyclopedia in the Yiddish language.

Trachtenberg plans to edit a companion volume of English translations of the Entsiklopedye's most significant works, as well as make available online an unpublished volume of the encyclopedia on the topic of Israel. Through his study of the Entsiklopedye, he will explore how Jewish studies has been shaped by the Holocaust, the decline of the European Jewish culture, and new centers of Jewish studies in the United States and Israel.

The Entsiklopedye, produced between 1930 and 1966, chronicles the history, demography, economics and politics of Judaism and Jewish culture. Its editors, including lead editor and former socialist and labor leader Raphael Rein Abramowitz (1880–1963), fled from Berlin to Paris after Hitler's 1933 appointment as Chancellor. With the Nazi invasion in France in 1940, they were forced to escape to New York, where they completed the last volumes in 1966.

Trachtenberg teaches classes on the Nazi Holocaust, antisemitism, modern and medieval Jewish history, and Jewish nationalism. He serves as undergraduate advisor and coordinator of the honors program for Judaic studies.

Trachtenberg's latest work The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (Syracuse University Press) examines the impact of the 1905 Russian Revolution on the formation of Yiddish scholarship, and will be published in fall 2008.

Trachtenberg received his doctorate in Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also holds a master's degree in U.S. history from the University of Vermont and an undergraduate degree in English from Rowan University of New Jersey.

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