Yale professor visits University, discusses political mass killings

Timothy Snyder, a Yale University history professor and author, gave a lecture Thursday in Ruffner Hall about his book “Bloodlands.” The novel focuses on the Holocaust and other political mass killings in Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eastern Russia.

Rather than taking a chronological approach to killings, Snyder examines the events of individual regions, placing them in the larger context of international politics. “Bloodlands” also looks at the domestic-level policies of both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that led to mass murder.

“One of the things the book does eloquently is put these things in conversation,” said Piotr Kosicki, associate director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Snyder stressed that his book is not solely about narratives of national history, but also follows the stories of individuals affected by the regimes’ policies.

“We need to try to turn these numbers into individual people,” Snyder said.

But true understanding of these mass killings requires a broader historical perspective, Snyder said.

“It is impossible not to be making these comparisons. . . I think that we can only retain the Holocaust if we make it a part of history, if we compare it to other things,” Snyder said.

Snyder’s lecture was part of an ongoing lecture series being hosted by the Jewish Studies Program; Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; and Page-Barbour Initiative on International Criminal Justice.

This post originally incorrectly stated the affiliation of Piotr Kosicki. He is no longer a lecturer at American University; he, instead, is the Associate Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University and a lecturer in the History Department. The Cavalier Daily regrets the error.

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