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Barry Trachtenberg
Associate Professor of History

Phone: 336.758.2512
Office: Tribble B-1


I am a historian of modern European and American Jewry, teaching classes on the Nazi Holocaust and Jewish responses to it, as well as classes on the history of Zionism, American Jewry, and other topics related to the modern Jewish past. I’m happy to work with students interested in any of these subjects (and more!).

Currently, I am writing a book-length history of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (General Encyclopedia, Berlin, Paris, & New York, 1932-1966), which is the only attempt to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia of universal knowledge in the Yiddish language. Initially to have comprised ten volumes of general knowledge plus a supplemental eleventh volume dedicated to Jewish culture, the Entsiklopedye ultimately followed a course that was unimaginable at its founding. The Algemeyne Entsiklopedye was to bring the latest discoveries from fields such as technology, history, demography, literature, biology, economics, and political science to millions of Yiddish readers. However, its mission was interrupted and altered by the rise of Nazism, the start of World War II, and the Holocaust. By the last volume, which was published in 1966, it no longer was a project dedicated to conveying universal knowledge but instead became a record of the destruction of European Jewry, its legacy, and its possible future in America.

I am the author of two books. The United States and the Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (Bloomsbury Press, 2018) brings students of the Holocaust a new understanding of this complex and often controversial topic. It demonstrates that the United States’s response to the Holocaust was (and remains) intricately linked to the ever-shifting racial, economic, and social status of American Jewry. The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (Syracuse University Press, 2008) examines the impact of the 1905 Russian Revolution on the formation of Yiddish scholarship.

Along with being a member of the Wake Forest program in Jewish Studies, I serve on the Board of Scholars of Facing History and Ourselves and the Academic Council of the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University. I am a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace.

I also write occasional pieces and lecture on the topics of Zionism, antisemitism, and US support for Israel. These have appeared in forums such as the ForwardTabletElectronic IntifadaMondoweiss, Die Tageszeitung (German), A2larm (Czech), and La Razón (Spanish). For more information or links to my essays and articles, please see



History 102: Europe and the World in the Modern Era
History 235: European Jewry from the Middle Ages to the Present
History 236: The Nazi Holocaust I (to 1941): Rise of Nazism, Jewish Responses, Global Reaction
History 237: The Nazi Holocaust II (from 1941): War, Genocide, and Aftermath
History 239: American Jewish History
History 320: Write and Record! Diaries & Memoirs of the Nazi Holocaust
History 321: Zionism, Palestine, and Israel in Historical Perspective

Monographs and Edited Collections

For a complete list of publications, please click CV

Articles and Essays

For a complete list of publications, please click CV