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September 26, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

$10 – $20

Haven for Holocaust Survivors: “Wanda Court”, a Melbourne Suburban Ethnography of the 1940s and ’50s

We are thrilled that eminent historian Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick will deliver the 2nd Hugh Anderson Lecture in the RHSV’s Distinguished Lecturer series. Sheila turns her historian’s gaze to the block of flats where she grew up and where most other residents were European Jewish refugees. 

Sheila Fitzpatrick is primarily a historian of modern Russia, especially the Stalin period, who received her B.A. (Hons.) at the University of Melbourne and her D. Phil. at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. In recent years she has added a transnational dimension with her research on Russian migration to Australia. She received a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002 and the American Historical Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction in 2012. She is past President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (formerly AAASS) and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was based in the US for many years, latterly as Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, before her return to Australia in 2012.

Her recent books include Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia (2005), A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold-War Russia (2014); On Stalin’s Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics (co-winner of 2016 Prime Minister’s Award for Non-Fiction), and Mischka’s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940s (2017, short-listed for 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction). With Mark Edele and Atina Grossmann, she co-edited and co-authored Shelter From the Holocaust. Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (2017). Her book, White Russians, Red Peril: A Cold War History of Migration was published by Black, Inc., Melbourne, in 2021; followed by The Shortest History of the Soviet Union in 2022. She is currently working on a monograph, Displacement: Repatriation and Resettlement of Russian and Soviet Displaced Persons after the Second World War, and a biography of Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya.

Hugh Anderson (1927-2017) was a scholar of formidable breadth, productivity and versatility. While it is as a folklorist that he is arguably best known both in Australia and abroad, Anderson’s prolific output also included biography, bibliography, history, school textbooks and documentary collections. His range of interests was very wide: Anderson seemed as comfortable in writing about John Pascoe Fawkner as Squizzy Taylor, as at home with an Aboriginal gumleaf player and a Sydney street poet as with the exquisite verse of John Shaw Neilson or the stately poetry of Bernard O’Dowd. Anderson’s historical and biographical writing incorporated many of the materials, perspectives and insights derived from folklore studies, and he treated literary creativity as central to telling the Melbourne, Victorian and Australian stories. Anderson’s boundary-riding between history, biography, folklore and literature was remarkably productive for him, and it was not unusual among writers with his radical-nationalist politics in the middle decades of the twentieth century. (An edited version of material written by Professor Frank Bongiorno)


This event is offered both in person at the RHSV and also via ZOOM. Those who are attending by ZOOM will be sent their log-in details 24 hours prior to the event.

As with all RHSV events, we serve refreshments from 5:30pm until 6pm when the lecture will start. 6pm is also when the ZOOM broadcast will start.

Photo: courtesy of ABC Radio, Conversations with Richard Fidler. 


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September 26, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
$10 – $20
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV Gallery Downstairs
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9326 9288