Natalie Belsky received her PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 2014. She completed her undergraduate studies at New York University. Her research interests include Soviet history, Soviet Jewish history, nationalism and minority politics in the Soviet Union, borderlands studies, the Holocaust, and displacement and migration. She has conducted research in Russia, Kazakhstan and the United States. Her research has been supported by numerous organizations, including the Center of Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Councils for International Education. Her current project examines the experiences of evacuees in the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

Project Summary

Natalie Belsky's book manuscript offers a social history of wartime evacuation in the Soviet Union during the war. In the wake of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, millions of people were evacuated from the western areas of the Soviet Union and resettled in the Volga region, Siberia and Central Asia for the duration of the war. There, they came into contact with distinct cultures, peoples, languages and lifestyles. Belsky’s research addresses the wartime experiences of the evacuees and focuses on their encounters and interactions with the local communities at sites of resettlement. The project examines how this experience shaped Soviet citizens’ mentalities, notions of entitlement, citizenship and belonging within a diverse, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual state.

Major Publications

“Fraught Friendships: Polish and Soviet Jews on the Soviet Home Front During the Second World War,” Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union, eds. Mark Edele, Sheila Fitzpatrick, and Atina Grossmann (Wayne State University Press, 2017), pgs.161-184.

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