The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

3/17- Biography and History of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964)

March 17 – Biography and history of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964) 

Irena Grudzinska Gross, Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science


This research concerns the life of Alexander Weissberg-Cybulski (1901-1964), an Austrian-Jewish physicist, writer, businessman, communist, then anti-communist and gambler. He is best known for the book on his imprisonment in the USSR (The Accused, 1951), and for his testimony at the Paris trial of David Rousset vs. Lettres Françaises (1951)both instrumental in spreading knowledge about the Gulag. In the last part of his life, he addressed the issues of war in his second book, written as a first person narration of Joel Brand, the man who in 1944 unsuccessfully negotiated with Adolf Eichmann for the lives of Hungarian Jews (Advocate for the Dead, 1958).


Irena Grudzinska Gross emigrated from her native Poland after student unrest of 1968. She studied in Poland, Italy and in the United States; she received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982. She taught East-Central European history and literature at Emory, New York, Boston and Princeton universities. She is now a professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Polish Academy of Science and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.


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