Statement of the director of YIVO in connection with the publication of “Do Rzeczy Historia” magazine

In connection with the publication of the interview with Jonathan Brent in the latest issue of the “Do Rzeczy Historia” magazine, you can find his statement below. Brent is an American historian and sovietologist, since 2009 director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York.

New York City, December 8th, 2018


The area of my professional research and publication is late Stalinism and in particular “The Doctors’ Plot” and other subjects relating to the fate of Jews in the Soviet Union. In consequence of this I give interviews frequently on these and related subjects. When Piotr Zychowicz from “Do Rzeczy Historia” asked to do an interview, I considered it to be normal, particularly because one of my books has been translated into Polish.

Only afterwards, did I become aware that the narrative represented by this magazine and its chief editor is quite contrary to my views and beliefs.

Following this closer examination, I intended to withdraw consent for the publication of this interview. However, the standard Polish procedure of autoryzacja of the interview never occurred, and it was published (in a December 2018 issue as “Żydowskie ofiary Stalina”) giving the unfortunate (and bizarre) impression that I considered “Do Rzeczy Historia” to be a “normal” historical magazine and that in some way through the publication of my interview I supported its editorial bias.

This I categorically reject. I wish to declare publicly that I deeply regret this publication and do not subscribe to the historical revisionism represented by „Do Rzeczy Historia” and its chief editor. My place – morally, professionally, personally – is on the side of research on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism informed by critical theory – a perspective founded in Poland by Jan Tomasz Gross and represented by female and male scholars whose scientific activity is today in grave jeopardy in Poland.

Jonathan Brent


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