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William Korey, papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-903

Scope and Content Note

The William Korey papers include materials from the late 1940s through 2010, and the bulk of the collection is dated 1970s-1990s. The documents include manuscripts, correspondence, notes, publications, news clippings, photographs, and a data CD.

Dates

  • undated, 1946-1951, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959-2010

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and Russian.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

email:reference@ajhs.org

Biographical and Historical Note

The Papers of William Korey represent one collection housed within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM). These papers reflect the effort, beginning in the 1960s through the late 1980s, of thousands of American Jews of all denominations and political orientations to stop the persecution and discrimination of Jews in the Soviet Union. The American Soviet Jewry Movement (ASJM) is considered to be the most influential Movements of the American Jewish community in the 20th century. The beginnings of the organized American Soviet Jewry Movement became a model for efforts to aid Soviet Jews in other countries, among them Great Britain, Canada, and France. The movement can be traced to the early 1960s, when the first organizations were created to address the specific problem of the persecution and isolation of Soviet Jews by the government of the Soviet Union.

William Korey was born in Chicago on June 16, 1922. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1946 and received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Columbia University. He initially taught Russian History and History of Western Civilizations at the Long Island University and the City College of New York.

Dr. Korey’s career in the human rights world initiated in 1954, when he became the director of the Illinois-Missouri office of the Anti-Defamation League and later of the ADL regional office in Washington, D.C. He was involved in the struggle for school integration and in opposing the "massive resistance" campaign in the South as it impinged upon the D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia. He remained close to Russian history and wrote reviews for The Washington Post on newly-released studies about Russia and the Soviet Union. At that time he completed his doctoral dissertation on "Zinoviev and the Problem of World Revolution, 1919-27." He received his Ph.D. in 1960, and wrote several articles on the topic for Slavic Review and Problems of Communism. Simultaneously he was writing on the subjects of human rights for Commentary and The Reporter.

Dr. Korey became directly involved in the Soviet Jewry Movement in 1960, when he headed the new office of ADL's parent organization, B'nai B'rith International in New York City. The office handled one of B'nai B'rith's top priority concerns--discrimination faced by Soviet Jews and their growing desire to emigrate. His scholarly expertise of Russian history became closely linked to his human rights aspirations and he later became the director of B’nai B’rith’s international council and its international policy research department. During the following decades he actively lobbied for issues pivotal to the success of the Soviet Jewry movement, such as the adoption of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act and defending the 1975 Helsinki Accords between the Eastern bloc and the West, aimed at influencing the Soviet Union. Parallel to his work on behalf of Soviet Jewry, Dr. Korey participated in the efforts to realize the U.S. ratification of the genocide treaty that was signed into law by President Reagan in 1988. To increase awareness of these issues, Dr. Korey published over two dozen Op-Ed pieces for the New York Times (a total of 15 for that newspaper), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun. More in-depth, scholarly analyses of the above topics written by Dr. Korey appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New Republic and The Washington Quarterly, among many other publications.

Dr. Korey taught at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Yeshiva University and several other major universities. He authored hundreds of essays and several books including the seminal Soviet Cage: Anti-Semitism in Russia (Viking Press), The Promises We Keep: Human Rights, The Helsinki Process and the American Foreign Policy (St. Martin’s Press), and NGOs and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (St. Martin’s Press).

William Korey passed away on August 26, 2009 in Cambridge, Mass.

Extent

7.25 Linear Feet (14 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box)

Abstract

William Korey Papers document life and works of a prominent human rights expert who played a leadership role in the American Soviet Jewry movement. Dr. Korey served as a regional director of Anti-Defamation League and later as a founding director of B'nai Brith International's U.N. office which worked on the problem of discrimination faced by the Jews in the Soviet Union. Dr. Korey was deeply involved in the processes pivotal to the success of the Sovet Jewry movement, such as the defense of the Helsinki Accords and the adoption of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. Parallel to his work on behalf of Soviet Jewry Dr. Korey participated in the efforts to realize the U.S. ratification of the genocide treaty that eventually came to fruition in 1988. William Korey authored hundreds of articles and essays and a number of books on the subjects related to the Jews in the Soviet Union. He taught at the Long Island University, City College of New York, Columbia University, Brooklyn College and several other major universities. The William Korey papers include materials from the late 1940s through 2010, and the bulk of the collection is dated 1970s-1990s. The documents include manuscripts, correspondence, notes, publications, news clippings, photographs and a data CD.

Provenance

Donated by Eileen Korey Kaplan in 2010.

Related Material

The papers of William Korey is one individual collection within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM) located at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). Other Soviet Jewry Movement collections at AJHS include the records of Action for Soviet Jewry (I-487), the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ; I-181 and I-181A), the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (I-410, I-410A), Houston Action for Soviet Jewry (I-500), Medical Mobilization for Soviet Jewry, the papers of Joel Ackerman (P-787), Julia Mates Cheney (P-806), Jerry Goodman (P-863), Laurel and Alan J. Gould (P-866), Carolyn W. Sanger (P-870), Si Frumkin (P-871), Elaine Pittell (P-873), Sanford A. Gradinger (P-880), Shaul Osadchey (P-882), Leonard S. Cahan (P-883), Doris H. Goldstein (P-887), David H. Hill (P-888), Margery Sanford (P-889), Pinchas Mordechai Teitz (P-891), David Waksberg (P-895), Pamela B. Cohen (P-897) and Moshe Decter (P-899).

Individual accounts of activities within the Soviet Jewry Movement are preserved in the UJA Oral History Collection (I-433), which includes accounts from members of the following organizations: the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, Bay Area Council on Soviet Jews (BACSJ), Seattle Action for Soviet Jews, Houston Action for Soviet Jews, Chicago Action for Soviet Jews, Colorado Committee of Concern for Soviet Jews and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Interviewees include accounts by Lillian Forman (BACSJ), Ann Polunsky, Morey Schapira, Myrtle Sitowitz, Deborah Turkin, David Waksberg, Sylvia Weinberg and Dolores Wilkenfeld. In addition, posters related to the Soviet Jewry Movement can be found in the Jewish Student Organizations Collection (I-61).

Additional materials from other collections include records dealing with the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) located within the North American Jewish Students Appeal (NAJSA, I-338) and the records of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC, I-172). Related records are also located at the AJHS in Boston, MA including memorabilia and ephemera of the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (I-237) and the Records of the Student Coalition for Soviet Jewry - Brandeis University (I-493).
Title
Guide to the Papers of William Korey, undated, 1946-1951, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959-2010 *P-903
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Andrey Filimonov
Date
© 2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States