The Drs. Kenneth Chelst, Bertram Schreiber and Fred Zwas Book Grant is designed to foster scholarship among the faculty of Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women by facilitating the publication of scholarly books and enabling faculty to pursue research, engage in collaborative consultations and seek support for editing and publishing their manuscripts.
One of this year’s recipients was Dr. Joshua Zimmerman, who is Eli and Diana Zborowski Professorial Chair in Holocaust Studies and East European Jewish History and a professor of history.
“I am honored to have received the Drs. Kenneth Chelst, Bertram Schreiber and Fred Zwas Book Grant for the 2021-2022 academic year, and I will use it to further my research on a work based on the life of Jozef Pilsudski, who lived from 1867 to 1935.”
As Dr. Zimmerman explained, Pilsudki is today regarded as modern Poland’s founding father. He was the commander of the Polish Legions during World War I, a military formation whose soldiers were 10% Jewish. “When Poland emerged as a state in November 1918, Pilsudski was named head of state, commander-in-chief and First Marshall of Poland. When Bolshevik Russia invaded in 1920, reaching the gates of Warsaw, Pilsudski led Poland to victory, pushing back the Red Army and halting the advance of communism.”
Known as “grandfather” to the people, he protected minority and Jewish rights and became one of Europe’s most influential statesman in the first half of the 20th century. “His towering stature as Poland’s founding father was given permanent form upon his death in 1935, when he was laid to rest alongside the tombs of Polish royalty at Kraków’s Wawel Castle. In my work, I hope to bring to life this seminal figure in the first comprehensive biography in English. While a bitterly divisive figure in his own lifetime, Poland’s leaders today, from liberals to populists, publicly praise Pilsudski as the nation’s greatest son.”
Dr. Zimmerman plans to use the grant to hire a mapmaker “who will design seven maps and one family tree that will be wholly unique.” He also plans to hire an indexer.