Current Fellows

Alexandra Kramen is a PhD candidate (as of April 2020) in History at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she holds a Claims Conference Fellowship and the Marlene and David Persky Research Award. Her dissertation, Justice Pursued: The Struggle for Holocaust Justice in the Jewish Displaced Persons Community of Föhrenwald, 1945-1957, will explore how survivors living in the longest-running Jewish displaced persons (DP) camp in postwar Europe conceived of and acted upon justice for the Holocaust. The case study opens a new perspective on how Jews reestablished a sense of justice and coped with the trauma they experienced under the Nazi regime, while contributing more broadly to the study of transitional justice processes in the wake of mass violence. At the Institute for Contemporary History-Munich, she will analyze how interactions between Föhrenwald’s Jewish DPs, local Germans, and American occupation forces in and around Munich affected DPs’ conceptions of, and actions taken toward, justice. Her doctoral research has received additional support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute-New York, the Naomi Foundation, and Tel Aviv University.

Kramen received her B.A. in History and Political Science with special interest certification in Holocaust Studies from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. She subsequently earned a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her broader research interests include Jewish agency during the Holocaust, Jewish life in modern Europe, and modern Jewish displacement and diaspora.


Suzanne Brown-Fleming is Director of the Division of International Academic Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and a former Mandel Center Fellow (2000). She received her Ph.D. in modern German history from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2002.

Project:

This project, Opa war ein Nazi: Eduard Geist and the Crimes of the Third Reich, is Dr. Brown-Fleming’s first attempt to research and write as both a decades-long scholar of the Holocaust and as the biological granddaughter of a devout and locally prominent Nazi. Inspired by local SA men and the speeches and writings of Adolf Hitler, Eduard Geist joined the SA in 1926 and the NSDAP in 1927. He became a senior administrator in the German Labor Front’s Koblenz headquarters, where he was involved with the Organization Todt-run Westwall labor camps. Initially the accounting inspector for over 120 camps with 125,000 conscripted workers, his duties would come to include confiscation of physical property (including Jewish properties) for the Westwall effort, and, by 1940, bank-held assets in Luxembourg. Also a soldier in the Wehrmacht, he fought in the infamous “Wolchow Kessel” on the Russian front. After the war, he was initially tried by a Spruchkammer as a Category 1 (“most guilty”) Nazi.


Zofia Trębacz is a historian and an assistant professor at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, where she is currently a member of the ‘Encyclopedia of the Warsaw Ghetto’ project. She also coordinates ‘Bound by history. Polish-Jewish relations in Poland’ project. In 2018, she published a book Nie tylko Palestyna. Polskie plany emigracyjne wobec Żydów 1935–1939 [Not only Palestine. Polish plans for Jewish emigration, 1935–1939].

In her research concerning Jewish correspondence during the Holocaust, she is particularly interested in the emotions present in these letters – uncertainty, a sense of being lost, hope and its loss, sadness, fear, and especially fear for loved ones, helplessness. She thinks that taking a closer look at how victims of the Nazi persecution reacted could add a new viewpoint to the history of the Holocaust. It seems that based on the sources, it is possible to analyze how emotions influenced the decisions made and where the rational actions ended.

In her research, Trębacz pays special attention to the female narrative. Under conditions of occupation, women often took over responsibility for the families, and their role has changed. Many of them were still very young, and the drama of the war made that they grow very quickly. In her work, she wants to reflect on how the change of the social situation, especially the breakdown of families, built a sense of loneliness among women.


Winson Chu is Associate Professor of Modern Central European History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. As a Humboldt Research Fellow from March 2020 to August 2021 at the Center for Holocaust Studies, Dr. Chu is working on how locals serving in the Kriminalpolizei (German Criminal Police, Kripo) in the Central Polish city of Łódź/Litzmannstadt facilitated the Holocaust.

This work engages three interrelated aspects: the Kriminalpolizei as an organization of persecution, the continuing networks between the Łódź Ghetto and the rest of the city, and Germanization in occupied Poland. This integrated perspective reframes occupied Łódź as one city and follows interethnic ties across the interwar, war, and postwar periods. Dr. Chu completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley and was awarded the annual Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize given by the Friends of the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. His monograph, The German Minority in Interwar Poland, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012 and received a Fraenkel Prize commendation by the Wiener Library in London.

Dr. Chu is also the co-author of “A Sonderweg through Eastern Europe? The Varieties of German Rule in Poland during the Two World Wars,” which appeared in the September 2013 volume of German History and which was awarded the Article Prize of the German History Society. In 2017, he published “From Łódź to Litzmannstadt: German Pasts and Holocaust Sites in Post-Communist Poland” in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.



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