New Mexico Tech Professor Publishes Book on Jewish Struggle, Sept. 23, 2005

by Shawna Carter

SOCORRO, N.M., Sept. 23, 2005 -- New Mexico Tech history professor Alexander Prusin recently had his book, Nationalizing a Borderland: War, Ethnicity, and Anti-Jewish Violence in East Galicia, 1914-1920, published by the University of Alabama Press.

Prusin's book addresses post-World War I (WWI) anti-Jewish attitudes in a remote region of Europe, located in what is now western Ukraine. According to Prusin, as the old European empires collapsed in the post-WWI era, a void was created in what was once eastern Poland. This void opened up an opportunity for new nations to form.

New countries were formed based on common ethnicity, religion, culture, and language, and since the Jewish people in this region differed from their neighbors in ethnic, religious, and cultural background, they were seen as "outsiders" and persecuted, he says.

This region of Europe was very volatile in the post-WWI era, Prusin contends. “It has changed hands over ten times in the past century, and every time Jews found themselves in a hostile environment," he says.

Reviewer John Klier, author of Imperial Russia's Jewish Question, 1855-1881, says "[Alexander Prusin] explores the "dynamics of persecution" of Galician Jewry (a very sizeable community) from the side of the Russian Empire and the emergent independent Polish state. He demonstrates that there was an interesting symmetry between their attitudes, both coming to see the Jews as a universal and lethal threat to their national interests."

Prusin's new book, Nationalizing a Borderland: War Ethnicity, and Anti-Jewish Violence in East Galicia, 1914-1920, is a 200 page, hard-bound edition which can be purchased online or bookstores.