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Biography and history of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964)

March 17, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Abstract: The paper concerns the life of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964), an Austrian-Jewish physicist, writer, businessman, communist, then anti-communist and gambler. In his twenties, Weissberg was a member of an international brotherhood of physicists at the peak of that science and of a cosmopolitan leftist milieu of European intelligentsia. He is best known for the book on his imprisonment in the USSR (The Accused, 1951), and for his testimony at the Paris trial of David Rousset vs. Lettres Françaises (1951), both instrumental in spreading knowledge about the Gulag. He also survived five years in prisons, a labor camp, Kraków ghetto and hiding in Nazi occupied Poland. On that second period, he wrote only one seven-page letter. In the last part of his life, he addressed the issues of war in his second book, written as a first person narration of Joel Brand, the man who in 1944 unsuccessfully negotiated with Adolf Eichmann for the lives of Hungarian Jews (Advocate for the Dead, 1958)

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We will pre-circulate an unpublished paper in advance of this workshop, so that we can read them in advance and have a fruitful discussion with the author.

Irena Grudzinska Gross emigrated from her native Poland after student unrest of 1968. She studied in Poland, Italy

and in the United States; she received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982. She taught East-Central European history and literature at Emory, New York, Boston and Princeton universities. She is now a professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. Her books include “Miłosz and the longshadow of war”, Pogranicze, 2020, “Golden Harvest” with Jan T. Gross, Oxford University Press, 2012, “Czesław Miłosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets,” Yale University Press, 2009, and “The Scar of Revolution: Tocqueville, Custine and the Romantic Imagination,” University of California Press, 1995. She edited books on literature and the transformation process in Central and Eastern Europe and published numerous book chapters and articles on these subjects in the international press and periodicals. Between 1998-2003, she was responsible for the East-Central European Program at the Ford Foundation.



March 17, 2023
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT