The Picture and Price of Jewish Assimilation in Documentary & Feature Silent Film
We invite you to an online lecture by prof. Daniel Grinberg, laureate of the 2019 Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska Award. The lecture organized by the YIVO Institute and the Jewish Historical Institute will be held on Monday, February 22 at 19:00 CET (13:00 EST), in English.

Lobby card from the 1922 movie  Hungry Hearts, based on stories by Anzia Yezierska / Wikipedia


The early twentieth century was a period of assimilation and acculturation for large segments of the Jewish population living in the United States and Central and Eastern Europe. It was also a time of development and flowering for cinema – a new, democratic art form. Focusing on documentaries as well as feature silent films, 2019 Jan Karski & Pola Nireńska Award recipient Professor Daniel Grinberg will analyze the changing character and perception of Jews in both the United States and Poland. This analysis will be compared with sociological theories and observations, as well as with literary presentations of the subject (I. Zangwill, A Yezierska, A Gordin). This talk will also consider the price of assimilation for Jewish communities of this period, the persistent “myth of America,” omnipresent in Yiddish culture before WW2, and antisemitic stereotypes and cliches popular in films of the 1920s and 1930s. 


About the Speaker

Daniel Grinberg  (born March 18, 1950 in Łódź) is a Polish historian of Jewish origin. Director of the Jewish Historical Institute from 1990 to 1995, Grinberg is an outstanding expert on the general history of the 19th century and of the anarchist movement in particular. Areas of study include historical sociology, the history of ideas, historiosophy, political emigration, social movements, and the emancipation of European Jews. Grinberg translated into Polish The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hanna Arendt (1989) with Mariola Szawiel, and Theory of Democracy by Giovanni Sartori (1994). Grinberg studied history at the University of Warsaw, where in 1973 he obtained a master's degree. In 1977 Grinberg obtained a doctorate on the basis of his work Fabian Society: People - ideas - organization, written under the supervision of Rafał Gerber, and in 1987 he obtained his habilitation. Since 1991, Grinberg has been a professor at the Institute of History at the University of Białystok.


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Day: 22.02.2021
Hour: 19:00
Place: online