Courage and Fear is a study of a multicultural city in times when all norms collapse. Ola Hnatiuk presents a meticulously documented portrait of Lviv’s ethnically diverse intelligentsia during World War Two. As the Soviet, Nazi, and once again Soviet occupations tear the city’s social fabric apart, groups of Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish doctors, academics and artists try to survive, struggling to manage complex relationships and to uphold their ethos. As their pre-war lives are violently upended, courage and fear shape their actions. Ola Hnatiuk employs diverse sources in several languages to tell the story of Lviv from a multi-ethnic perspective and to challenge the national narratives dominant in Central and Eastern Europe.  

"Thoughtful, insightful, exceptionally well researched and moving at the same time, Courage and Fear is the book that plunges the reader into the depth of the history in one of the most contested places on the European map. The city known in the twentieth century as Lemberg, Lwow, Lvov and Lviv, had more nationalities and states that claimed it than the multiplicity of its names might suggest. Ola Hnatiuk manages to weave the personal stories of the Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian citizens of the city with the stories of the powerful states and dictators that tried to control them in the tapestry that reveals the Europe’s tragedies of World War II era in a new scholarly and human dimension. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the past and grasp the essence of the present struggles of Ukraine and its citizens." (Serhii Plokhy, Harvard University)


Ola Hnatiuk is a professor at the University of Warsaw and at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She also served in the Polish diplomatic corps (2006–2010). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Polonia Restituta (Republic of Poland highest state award), the Antonovych Foundation Award for fostering Polish-Ukrainian cultural cooperation, and the Pruszynski Polish PEN-Club Award. Her book Courage and Fear (originally published in 2015) received awards in Ukraine and in Poland.

The event is organized by: Polish Cultural Institute in New York, the Brooklyn Public Library, American Friends of the University of Warsaw, the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College of Eastern Europe  in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York.

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