This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Victoria Khiterer, assistant professor of history.

 

Dr. Victoria Khiterer

 

Q: What is your educational background?

A: In 2008, I earned a doctorate from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and in 1996 I earned a doctorate from the Russian State University of Humanities in Jewish history.

Q: What courses do you teach?

A: Europe and the World, 1789 to Present; Western Intellectual Tradition II; Hitler and Nazism; Readings in Modern Europe, 1914 to the Present; Imperial Russia; Century Europe; Soviet Union; Modern Jewish History; and Senior Seminar. I am also going to teach my new course, Ukrainian Revolution and Russian Solution, in the winter 2015 semester.

Q: What is your favorite course to teach and why?

A: My favorite course to teach is Soviet Union. I am always telling my students that I am from the Soviet Union, and I have bitter-sweet memories about the country. My nostalgia is mixed with a deep knowledge of the history of the country.

Q: How long have you been teaching at Millersville?

A: I have been teaching at Millersville for five years.

Q: What was the most difficult part of planning the 2014 “Resistance to the Holocaust and Genocide” conference?

A: The most difficult part was to find time for everything. The preparation of the conference required a lot of time, about 20 hours per week. I chose the conference theme, raised money, selected the papers for presentations, invited the scholars, composed the conference program, organized and led the conference. I also advertised for the conference, talked to the donors, scholars and community members and gave interviews to the media. I was doing all of this along with teaching my courses and researching.

Simultaneously, I edited and published the selected proceedings from the 2010 to 2012 MU Conferences on the Holocaust and Genocide: “The Holocaust: Memories and History” (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), 415 pp. This book is a collection of 17 scholarly articles that analyze Holocaust testimonies, photographs, documents, literature and films, as well as teaching methods in Holocaust education. My book was selected as the August 2014 Book of the Month by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Q: Which session in the conference was your favorite?

A: I liked all of the conference sessions, but my favorite was the keynote speech for the Aristides De Sousa Mendes Lecture. The speaker, Zvi Gitelman, a professor of political science and professor of Judaic studies at the University of Michigan, titled his speech “Rumination, Resignation and Resistance.”

Q: Could you describe what that session was about?

A: In his thought-provoking lecture, Professor Gitelman showed that resistance to the Nazi regime was often counterproductive. He pointed out that armed resistance typically provoked vindictive measures against inhabitants of the ghettos and concentration camps or against residents of local villages in the case of partisan resistance.

Q: Have you visited Ukraine before? If so, what have you done while you were there?

A: I was born and grew up in Kiev, Ukraine. I emigrated from Ukraine to Israel in 1997 and then to the U.S. in 1999. Since then, I have visited Kiev every summer except for this year. Unfortunately, I could not visit my native city this year due to the war in Ukraine.

I am Kievan in the fifth generation, my great-great-grandparents lived there. I never broke my scholarly and cultural connections with Kiev and Kievans. Even my research is devoted to my native city. I recently completed and submitted to the publisher my monograph, “Jewish City or Inferno of Russian Israel? A History of the Jews in Kiev,” which is under contract with Academic Studies Press. My book focuses on the urban, social, economic and cultural history and the everyday life of Jews in Kiev, the social status of the Jewish population, the growth of Jewish enterprises and the contribution of the Jews to the development of the city to February 1917. I am working now on the second volume of my monograph, which is devoted to the Jews in Kiev in Soviet times, including the Holocaust of Kiev Jewry at Babi Yar and the Soviet government policy of discrimination against Jews. My two volume monograph will be the most comprehensive work ever published on Kiev Jewish History.

All my research is based on Kiev archives, so I split my time in Kiev between research in archives, visits to my colleagues and friends and walks at the beautiful Kiev parks and streets.

Q: What is your favorite time period in history?

A: The silver age of Russian culture in early twentieth century.

Q: If you could visit any country, which country would it be?

A: Ukraine, Israel, France, Italy, Poland, England, Austria, Germany… I have been to all of these countries before and I would like to visit them again. I like European history and culture and always use any opportunity to travel to Europe. My parents live in Israel, so I visit them at least once per year.

Q: If you could go back in time, what time period would you want to visit the most?

A: I would like to visit Europe in 1913, which is the last peaceful year before World War I.

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