World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John Klier

Professor John Doyle Klier (1944–2007) was a pioneering historian of Russian Jewry and a pivotal figure in academic Jewish studies and East European history in the UK and beyond. At the end of his career and life, Professor Klier was the Sidney and Elizabeth Corob Professor of Modern Jewish History at University College London.[1] He was a historian who challenged scholarly opinion on the Jewish community under the Tsars.


  • Early life and university 1
  • Work in Russia 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and university

Klier was born in 1944 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and his family lived briefly in Washington before settling in Syracuse, New York. His father taught aeronautical engineering at Syracuse University. Brought up as a Catholic, John attended Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana for his BA and MA in history.[2] He pursued doctoral study at the University of Illinois, which was known for Russian and Soviet history. In his investigations of pre-revolutionary Russia, he noticed that little research had been conducted on Russian Jewry for most of the 20th century. His PhD dissertation examined the process by which Tsarist Russia, after the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century, absorbed Jews into the Russian state system. His first book, Russia Gathers Her Jews: The Origins of the Jewish Question in Russia (1986), expanded on the PhD thesis.[3]

Work in Russia

In 1991, he was one of the first foreign scholars to undertake in-depth research on the Jews in Soviet archives, and mined resources in the coming years in Kiev, Moscow, St Petersburg and Minsk. In 1993, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the United States to prepare surveys of Jewish materials in post-Soviet archives. Scores, if not hundreds, of researchers of East European Jewry have benefited from his insight and guidance. His second major monograph, 'Imperial Russia's Jewish Question, 1855–1881', appeared in 1995.

John lead the Jewish studies department at UCL and was also a regular organiser of trips of Russianists from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies to the theatre and opera. The UCLU club photo from 2005 now sits in his Memorial Library in the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department.

Personal life

John was devoted to his wife Helen Mingay and their two children, Sophia and Sebastian. He passed away at the age of 62 from cancer[4] and is survived by family members in Upstate New York and the UK.[5] John was an expert in many national literatures – which he preferred to read in their original language.[6]


  • Perspectives on the 1881-1882 pogroms in Russia. Pittsburgh, Forbes Quadrangle, 1984, with Alexander Orbach.
  • Russia gathers her Jews: The origins of the "Jewish question" in Russia, 1772-1825. Northern Illinois University Press, 1986.
  • Pogroms: anti-Jewish violence in modern Russian history, with Shlomo Lambroza, 1992.
  • Imperial Russia's Jewish question, 1855-1881 . Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • The quest for Anastasia: Solving the mystery of the lost Romanovs . Secaucus, N.J., Carol Publishing Group, 1997, with his wife Helen Mingay.


  1. ^ Obituary from UCL
  2. ^ Michael Berkowitz, UCL Modern Jewish History
  3. ^ The Independent Obituary
  4. ^ "Obituary: John Klier". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Obituary text
  6. ^ Obituary text

External links

  • University College London Homepage
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.