Headed by Valery Dymshits, Doctor of Science in Chemistry and Director of Petersburg Judaica, field Studies of Shtetls (Summer schools for Field Work 2004-2008) were organized in cooperation with the "Sefer" Center (Moscow) and conducted in small towns of Ukraine (Tulchin, Balta, Moghilev-Podolsk, Bershad, Gaysin, etc.). The first results of this work are presented in the volume "Shtetl, 21th century: Field Studies".
The articles published in this present collection are based on materials collected during the expedition schools of 2005-2007 in three small Ukrainian towns: Tulchin, Balta, and Moghilev-Podolsk. These towns contain small Jewish communities (fifty to one hundred families) that represent a branch of Soviet Jewry commonly believed to have ceased to exist after the Second World War. For them — professors, students, and graduate students from universities in the capitals — these were "other Jews." They differed from Jews living in major cities in terms of their names, language, habits, and most important, their experience of living in a "Jewish town." During the war, the majority of the Jewish population from Tulchin and Moghilev-Podolsk was deported to the Pechora concentration camp, not far from Tulchin. Many of these people died from starvation and disease, but about a quarter of them survived.