Victor Zaslavsky, who taught in the MUN Department of Sociology from 1975 until his retirement in 1995, was the 2008 recipient of the highly prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought. Victor received the award for his book Klassensäuberung: Das Massaker von Katyn. The Hannah Arendt Prize is awarded annually in Bremen, Germany, by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The Prize is given to scholars who make a contribution to the public debate about contentious issues. Previous recipients include Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada; Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia; and the French psychoanalyst and semiotician Julia Kristeva.
The English translation, Class Cleansing: The Massacre at Katyn, was published by Telos Press in New York. The book is described on the cover in these words: “Revisiting the events of the 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which some 25,000 Polish prisoners of war were shot by the Soviet secret police on Stalin’s orders, Zaslavsky explores a paradigmatic and terrifying example of the policy of class cleansing practiced in the Soviet Union and its occupied territories during World War II. By blaming the Katyn Massacre on the Nazis, the Soviets constructed one of the greatest historiographical falsifications of the twentieth century. Based on secret documents of the Soviet regime that became available only after its collapse, Zaslavsky unearths the methods used to create and maintain the Soviet ‘official version’ of what happened at Katyn, a process involving the complicity of Western governments and left-leaning historians, which resulted in the upholding of this falsification until the fall of the Soviet Union.”
Victor is also the author or co-author of several books in English, German, and Italian including The Neo-Stalinist State: Class, Ethnicity and Consensus in Soviet Society