Current Fellows

Viorel Achim, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at the Nicolae Iorga Institute of History at the Romanian Academy, in Bucharest. His research fields include the history of the Roma, ethnic minorities in Romania between 1918-1948, population policies in Romania during World War II, and the Holocaust. He published intensively about the deportations of Jews and Roma to Transnistria by the Antonescu government in 1941-1944. Viorel Achim was a member of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania, chaired by Elie Wiesel, in 2003-2004.

During his fellowship at the Center for the Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, Viorel Achim studies the participation of the ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) in Transnistria in the destruction of the local Jews and of the Jewish and Roma deported from Romania in the years 1941-1944. The investigation focuses on the killings of Jews and Roma in the German villages in southern Transnistria, in other localities in this territory where the “German police” (Volksdeutsche) was called in by the Romanian occupation authorities, but also on the construction sites in southeastern part of Transnistria opened by the German army and operated by Organization Todt. The complicity of the Romanian occupation authorities in Transnistria in these killings will also be pursued. The research is based on documents produced by the Romanian occupation authorities, journals from that period, post-war investigations and oral history interviews. The project, which will incorporate some previous research on this topic by other historians, will provide a comprehensive picture of the killings and massacres committed by ethnic Germans in Transnistria, which are part of the Holocaust in Romania’s area of domination.

Michał Grochowski, historian, has recently submitted the PhD dissertation titled “Economic history of the Warsaw Ghetto” at the Historical Institute of the University of Wrocław. In his research he focuses on the social and economic issues of the life in the Warsaw Ghetto.
In the current project he is investigating the issue of the Jewish collaboration with Germans in Warsaw during the occupation. In this undertaking he is using modified system level analysis and examines the goals of organizations, their management, and individual agents as partially independent from one another. Such approach will, hopefully, allow him to explain better how collaborators (including the infamous “Thirteen” group) operated in the Warsaw Ghetto.


Jonathan Lanz is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington in the United States. His dissertation is entitled “The Ghetto Next to the Gas Chamber: Social Networks and Daily Life in the Theresienstadt Family Camp.” Given the relative lack of archival documentation surrounding Jewish daily life in Birkenau, Jonathan’s research seeks to probe how the postwar testimony of Family Camp child survivors provides a pathway to write social histories of the Holocaust which lack contemporaneous accounts. Drawing on recent work in Holocaust memory, Jonathan’s dissertation project returns the historians’ gaze to victim-based approaches to life in the Nazi camp system. Historians of the Holocaust have yet to write social histories of the Birkenau death camp, a perplexing fact given the large emphasis on the camp in American and European Holocaust memory. His project remedies this absence by explicitly centering Jewish victim testimony of the Family Camp in a history of prisoner society. This methodological approach will allow Holocaust historians to gain a clearer picture of everyday live within the Nazis’ largest death camp.

During his ZfHS-USHMM Junior Fellowship, Jonathan will examine testimony given by Family Camp survivors at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials between 1963 and 1965.

Paweł Machcewicz, historian, professor at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw; 2008-2017 – founding director of the  Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk; he has taught at the Warsaw University and the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and was a co-founder of the Institute of National Remembrance, in 2000-2006 he was director of its research and education branch. The goal of his project “Poland in the 1950s and 1960s: Communism, Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Political Uses of History” is to analyze the ideological evolution of the Communist system in Poland from the peak of the Stalinist regime in the early 1950s until the end of Władysław Gomułka`s era in 1970, against the background of other Communist countries. The most significant ideological trend in this period was a strong and almost steady shift towards seeking nationalist legitimization, exploitation of themes from the national past and, in the 1960s, antisemitism, which eventually became one of the crucial elements of the language and imaginarium of the Polish communists. In 1967-1968 this process led to the antisemitic campaign organized by the ruling party, but supported by a significant part of the population. A parallel phenomenon – after 1956 – was the growing importance of the anti-German rhetoric.

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