Free Public Lecture to Discuss Bounty Hunters Who Betrayed Jews in German-Occupied Ukraine

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 26, 2008) – One of the most notorious forms of collaboration with the German occupation of Poland and Ukraine, that of the shmal'tsovniki, or bounty hunters who betrayed Jews to the German police in return for cash rewards, apartments and other incentives, will be the focus of a free public lecture at Holocaust Museum Houston this fall.

On Oct. 16, Northeastern University professor Jeffrey Burds will present “Shmal'tsovniki: Bounty Hunters in German-Occupied Ukraine, 1941-1944” at the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, in the Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. Admission is free.

Burds will outline the political economy of genocide in the western Ukraine, tracing the extraordinary story of the transformation of relations between neighbors into a predatory hunt for Jewish men, women and children who had been driven into hiding.

He will show how bounty hunters preyed not just on Jews, but also on well-meaning Poles and Ukrainians whose acts of kindness were turned against them in the upside-down world of the German occupation.

Burds completed his doctorate at Yale University in 1990. He has studied closely the interrelated histories of Ukrainian nationalism, Nazi collaboration, Soviet power and the fate of the Jews in western Ukraine. 

A veteran of more than 72 months of research in post-Soviet archives in Russia and Ukraine, Burds is currently working on a book-length study of Soviet collaborators in the second world war called "Idioms of Hate: Soviet Collaborators in the German War against 'Jewish Bolshevism.'" Burds also is the author of "Soviet Police Informants: Essays on the History of the USSR during the Post-War Years (1944–1948)" and "Espionage and Nationalism." He is active in asylum work on cases assisting religious and ethnic minorities trying to escape persecution in post-Soviet Ukraine.

Visit www.hmh.org/register.asp to register online. Admission is free. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 104 or e-mail events@hmh.org.

Burds’ appearance is sponsored by the Houston Endowment Inc., with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.

For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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