Former Fellows 2015

Elisabeth Pönisch (Germany), PhD student in Sociology, University Freiburg i.B., „„Judenhäuser“ im Deutschen Reich ab 1939. Eine Lebensweltstudie zu Alltag und Nachbarschaft“ (January – April 2015). 

Elisabeth Pönisch about her project:
My research examines the forced “relocation” to and the specific everyday life in the so-called “Jews’ Houses”, which were established in the course of the “The Law Concerning Tenant Relations with Jews” in 1939. Within a very short time, most of the Jews got the order to move into a smaller flat with other Jewish people or with “Aryans” in mixed marriages. As a result, they were almost totally cut off from their familiar surroundings. This project is divided into two parts which gear into each other. The first part focuses on the process of implementation of the houses. Therefore, I analyze the organizational structures with the involved actors and institutions of the so-called “relocation”. Instead of just tracing how the process of relocation was organized, I concentrate on the subjective experiences and the social interactions in the second and main part. By the enforced “relocation” into the “Jews’ houses” a new and very specific “life-worlds” developed for the Jews. Thereby, the subjective experiences, perception as well as the social interaction and the relationships between each other will be investigated. Furthermore, the exchange with the social environment will also be taken into account. In order to realize this, I analyze an extensive range of sources, such as Jews’ memoirs, diaries, letters, correspondence or newspapers and newsletters from Jewish communities, as well as official documents of involved institutions and Jewish organizations.

Felix Matheis (Germany), PhDstudent in history, University Hamburg, „Hamburg im Osten. Die Besatzung Polens aus der Perspektive der Hansestadt 1939-1945.“ (April – July 2015, Munich). 

Felix Matheis about his project:
My project examines the exploitatory relationship between the City of Hamburg and occupied Poland. There is preliminary evidence that representatives of the City of Hamburg played an important role in the occupation and exploitation of Poland as well as in the destruction of the European Jews. Many officials of institutions concerned with the exploitation and deprivation of property and goods like the Haupttreuhandstelle Ost or the Zentralhandelsgesellschaft Ost were citizens of Hamburg. A large number of business firms from Hamburg were involved in occupied Eastern Europe exploiting both the non-Jewish and Jewish population. Representatives from Hamburg established a network of functionaries in different institutions of the Nazi state to promote their economic interests. My project focuses on a trans-regional perspective in order to highlight the reciprocal dynamics between Nazi Germany and occupied countries. Why and when did a city traditionally orientated towards overseas trade begin to focus on occupied Poland? Which groups and mentalities in Hamburg promoted this kind of development? What was the particular behavior of the numerous Hamburgian business firms and citizens in occupied Poland? In which way did private protagonists act as representatives of the Nazi occupational power and what was their involvement in the Holocaust? To what extent did the City of Hamburg profit from the Hamburgian commitment in occupied Poland? Do these aspects support the assumption of a close relationship between state initiative and private enterprises with regard to the Holocaust?

Diana Dumitru, Associate Professor of History, Ion Creanga State Pedagogical University from Chisinau, Moldova (June - September 2015).

This project aims to analyze the transformed environment of the postwar Soviet Union and examine the change of Jewish identity in the wake of complex processes occurring around. In particular, I aim to unravel the intricacies of the painful Jewish-Gentile encounters in the aftermath of the Holocaust and seek to analyze the particular social environment shaped by the large awareness of the instances of gentiles’ collaboration with the murderous authorities during World War Two. I would like to illuminate how the Soviet gentiles grasped the important legal and moral implication they were about to face, as perpetrators or onlookers, regarding the crimes that took place in their communities against fellow citizens, while simultaneously elucidating Jewish comprehension of Soviet society in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The third entangled dimension to be studied by this project refers to how the Soviet state dealt with various related dimensions, including of “collaboration” that had taken place during World War Two, with postwar tensions between Jews and Gentiles, and with the escalation of antisemitism and its backlash.

Adam Gellert (Hungary), researcher, "Partners in Crime. The German-Hungarian Solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary in 1944."

My project analyzes the various German and Hungarian administrative processes that led to the partial extermination of the Hungarian Jews in 1944 and 1945. I study the mechanism of  destruction within the theoretical framework of collaboration: the intertwined German-Hungarian administrative processes, the components of these apparatuses and their daily interactions. I analyze how the accumulated German technical knowledge of extermination was used so effectively in Hungary and to what extent did Hungarian agendas influence this process. I am interested in the relationships between German and Hungarian actors, the changing interactions between different Hungarian agencies and their impact upon each other. I scrutinize the contribution of various, internally divided actors and ask as to what degree they strengthened, complemented or weakened each other. I take a detailed look at the German security services,  *Sondereinsatzkommando* Eichmann, the Higher SS and Police Leader, the Plenipotentiary in Hungary and the Wehrmacht occupational forces. From the Hungarian side I focus at Horthy and his advisors, the successive Hungarian governments (Sztójay, Lakatos, Szálasi), the key figures within the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, the leaders of gendarmerie and police, and leaders of the main political parties. During my fellowship, I am going to work with sources at the IfZ, Staatsarchive München,  Politisches Archive and Bundesarchive Lichterfelde in Berlin.

Alexander Kruglov, Scientific Advisor at the Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies (Ukraine), a member of the Scientific Committee of Yahad – in Unum (France), and associate Editor of the “Russian Library of the Holocaust” (July-September 2015). 

Object of my research are regional features of the Holocaust in the USSR regions occupied by Germans. These features, in our opinion, allow to develop a scientific periodization of the Holocaust in the USSR and, on the contrary, the scientific periodization of the Holocaust gives the chance to discover regional features.
In this connection the research purposes are:
- to challenge existing variants of periodization of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union (according to its 1941 borders)
- to offer an alternative periodization that focuses on qualitative rather than quantitative change,
- to receive the answers to following questions:
What does the fact that general destruction of Jews has begun already in the beginning of July, 1941 means?  or When the order on destruction of the Soviet Jews as "Bolshevist" Jews has been given?
What does the fact that transition to the universal general destruction of Jews occurred in different regions of the USSR at various times means?
If actions concerning Jews in the occupied areas of the USSR were planned in Berlin, whether were these actions uniform, or everyone HSSPF, each chief of the Einsatzgruppe, each Fuhrer of an SD-Einsatzkommando/Sonderkommando, each BdS or KdS  could operate on own understanding?

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