Jewish Studies Program Statement Concerning Russia's War Against Ukraine

The faculty of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College condemns Russia's aggression against Ukraine which began in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and has escalated with Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine and a series of attacks on Ukrainian cities.

It is our professional duty as scholars to expose the false and ahistorical narrative used by the Russian regime to justify its aggression against Ukraine. We are especially appalled by Putin's manipulation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany in attempting to justify his violent actions.

We assert our full support for Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We do so out of grave concern for the peace of Europe and the world.

We also acknowledge that the criminal actions of the current Russian government do not express the will of all Russian people and we extend our admiration and support for the anti-war demonstrators in Russia who are being detained and persecuted for their public statements against the war. We have also contacted colleagues in the field of Jewish Studies who live and teach in Ukraine to express our concern and offer our assistance.

We express solidarity with Dartmouth students and faculty who come from Ukraine and those with Ukrainian heritage for whom these latest developments are particularly devastating. Please know that we share your anguish and are here to offer you our support. We also welcome all Dartmouth students concerned about the situation to reach out to us for conversation and reliable sources to understand and follow the events that are currently unfolding.

The Jewish presence in Ukraine has a long history of over a thousand years. Despite eras of enormous suffering, the large and diverse Jewish communities in Ukraine produced some of the greatest centers of Jewish civilization and learning, including major Hasidic courts, publishing houses, yeshivot (seminaries), and small villages where intense religiosity blossomed, cities and towns such as Munkatch, Buchach, Korets, Zhytomyr, Medzhybizh, Chernobyl, Berdychiv, Bratslav, Chotin, Kopczynitz, and Lviv. Today, the largest Jewish Community Center in the world is located in Dnipro. In 2016, Ukrainians elected Volodymyr Groysman Prime Minister and in 2019 Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president; both are Jewish. Zelensky's grandfather fought with the Soviet Union during World War II, and his own father and three brothers were murdered by the Nazis. We have colleagues in the field of Jewish Studies who teach in Ukraine, and we are concerned about their safety and about the security of all Ukrainians – indeed, about the peace of Europe and the world that is now under threat from Russian aggression.