Former Fellows 2016

Irina Rebrova, PhD candidate, Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University Berlin, Germany. Project “The Fate of the Jewish Children at occupied territories of the Southern Russia (North Caucasus) during the Second World War” (May, October-November).

As the main goal of my present research I would like to answer the question: Why the Soviet citizens in the occupied territories of South of Russia / North Caucasus had a very different attitude towards the thousands of Jewish children who have been evacuated into this region with their families or orphanages? There were two main strategies in the attitude of the Soviet local citizens towards the Jewish children. Firstly, there was a wide variety of different forms of the collaboration with the Nazi authorities and therefore some of the locals played an active or passive role in the mass extermination of the Jewish population, including children in the region. Secondly, some locals experienced the conscious rejection of the Nazi regime and therefore they hid and helped Jews to survive or even adopted Jewish children. Among the main sources for this research project is a variety of statements, eyewitnesses and reports, collected by the State Extraordinary Commission in the region from 1943 till 1945, materials of the first trial against the Soviet perpetrators and collaborators in Krasnodar in 1943, and a number of post-war trials in the Soviet Union and in Germany against Nazi criminals and collaborators, along with ego-documents of the Holocaust survivors (letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, documentaries and oral stories).

Margit Reiter (Austria), PD and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History, University of Vienna, Project: “Antisemitism after the Shoah. Ideological continuities and political reorientation in the milieu of former National Socialists in postwar Austria” (April–June 2016)

The project deals with ideological continuities and different ways of political reorientation of former National Socialists in postwar Austria. It focuses on those former Nazis who had shared National Socialist ideology before and after the ‘Anschluss’ and who – most importantly in this context – “remained true to their political convictions” even after 1945. Many of them found their political home in the Verband der Unabhängigen  (VdU), founded in 1949, and successor in 1956, the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ), which served as a “rallying point” for former National Socialist in Austria. This very specific “milieu of memory” will be reconstructed and analyzed in my project for the first time. After 1945 former National Socialists had to find a position in the new political system: they were faced with the choice of either preserving Nazi ideology reorienting themselves or politically. What did the Austrian Nazis decide to do? Did they remain true to their values and convictions or did they adapt (at least superficially) to the new political circumstances? How did they deal with National Socialism in general, and with their own specific roles in particular? And above all, what was the role of antisemitism in this particular milieu after the Shoah?
During my fellowship I will focus on the following transnational topics: 1) Austrians as defendants and witnesses on German courts and as internees in Allied Camps in Bavaria 2) transnational networks and connections between the VdU/FPÖ and German rightwing parties e.g. SRP and parts of the FDP 3) Postwar policy towards former National Socialists (e.g. denacizification, reintegration) in Germany as a basis for comparison for Austria.

Ionut Biliuta (Romania), PhD, Gheorghe Sincai Institute for Social Sciences and the Humanities, Romanian Academy, “Preaching the Gospel of Hate. Antisemitism, Fascism and the Orthodox Church in Interwar Romania” (February-May).

The present project focuses on the antisemitic discourse of several prominent Orthodox clergymen and theologians associated with the Iron Guard and the radicalization of Orthodox nationalism under the impact of fascism in interwar Romania. Under a wave of right-wing revolutionary violence, Orthodox clergymen and theologians shifted from understanding the Jew according to Patristic theology and Canon law to a more confessional, “racist” trend of theology. I argue that the violent vituperative view of Orthodox theology towards the Jews was a direct consequence of the process of appropriation and transfer of theological anti-Jewish categories from the German academic milieu into Romania via students who pursued their theological training abroad, especially in German universities. Fascist orthodox clergymen from Transylvania for instance completed their training on generous research fellowships in Munich University to study Catholic/Protestant Theology, Philosophy, and Byzantine studies. The transfer of racist concepts between academic contexts went hand in hand with a complementary process of re-interpretation, adaptation or even outright rejection of the Nazi theological tenets. As an example, although embracing the Nazi racist theology pointing at the Jews as a “satanic” and racially “degenerate” nation, fascist Orthodox theologians opposed the erasing of the Old Testament from the corpus of the Script and vilified the attempts to Nazify Christology in order to depict Christ as an Aryan fighter against the Jews.

Christina Winkler (Germany/United Kingdom), PhD, University of Potsdam and University of Leicester, "Everyday life and violence in occupied Rostov-on-Don (1942-1943)" (February-April). 

The research project Everyday life and violence in occupied Rostov-on-Don (1942-1943) focuses on events in occupied Rostov-on-Don mainly during the city’s second German occupation between July 1942 and February 1943. The project analyses how both civilians and German occupants perceived the occupation of Rostov. The southern Russian city only recently became known for its tragic history in the context of the Holocaust. In August 1942 Sonderkommando 10a perpetrated the Nazis most horrific massacre of Jews on territory of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, murdering as many as 18,000 men, women, and children. However, not only the Holocaust until today left its traces in Rostov, other crimes against humanity such as e.g. the gassing of all patients of the city’s psychiatric clinic or the killing of Soviet prisoners of war in a so far unknown POW-camp in the city of Rostov have not been analysed so far. Neither has the question been raised what interactions and dynamics were caused by the fact that many German soldiers were billeted with locals, sometimes for weeks, and against official orders. If so, in what way did these personal relations affect dynamics and possibly collaboration? In order to answer these questions and get insights into how locals and occupiers perceived everyday life and violence during the occupation, Russian as well as German sources will be analysed.

Natalia Aleksiun, (USA) Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History, Touro College, New York. Project “Daily Survival: Social History of Jews Hiding in Eastern Galicia” (May-July 2016) - Fellow USHMM

Drawing extensively on archival sources, oral testimonies and published memoirs, my project focuses on the daily experiences of Jews in this region as they hid from the Nazis in groups that encompassed immediate and extended families, acquaintances and many who began this traumatic period as complete strangers. Confined in overcrowded hiding places, these individuals spent weeks, months and in some cases years together, preparing and dividing food, talking, reading and arguing. Like others elsewhere, the Jews in these bunkers faced defining moments in lives that could not be put on hold for the duration of their confinement: some fell in love, many fell ill, some gave birth and others died. Throughout these experiences, too, these hidden Jews faced e challenges with respect to such normally routine aspects of daily life as sanitation, access to food and water, personal hygiene and entertainment. During my stay at the Institute, I hope to access some of the trials of individuals indicted for their crimes in Eastern Galicia under the German occupation. Moreover, I will also examine memoirs of Jewish survivors from Galicia published in German.

Jennifer Allen (USA), Assistant Professor of History, Yale University, Project: “Commemorating Mass Trauma in an Age of Transnationalism” (June-August 2016) - Fellow USHMM

Walking through a residential neighborhood in Buenos Aires, a pedestrian might stumble upon a plaque in the sidewalk, which bears the name, date of birth, and date of death of a victim of the military junta that “disappeared” as many as 30,000 political dissidents in the 1970s and 80s. Thousands of miles away, a resident of Moscow might observe on the façade of an apartment building a thin metal sign displaying the name, date of birth, and date of death of one of the million victims of Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. And if American civil rights lawyer and MacArthur Genius Grant winner Bryan Stevenson gets his way, Americans in the U.S. South might begin to see similar markers commemorating the sites of nearly 4,000 lynchings of black Americans that took place between 1850 and 1977. Despite their different geographies and content, these projects share a number of key features. Most importantly, they were all inspired by an ambitious, popular German Holocaust memorial project called the Stumbling Stones (Stolpersteine). The work I will complete as a fellow will help to explain the relationship between these memorials and many others like them from places as distant as Sarajevo and Cincinnati, Ohio in the U.S. I aim to demonstrate how the lessons of more than seventy years of efforts in Germany to work through the legacy of the Holocaust have been taken to heart globally and how recent innovations in Holocaust commemoration have radically altered popular practices for commemorating mass trauma around the world.

Katarzyna Person (Poland) holds a PhD in History from Royal Holloway, University of London. She has held has held postdoctoral fellowships from Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research, the Center for Jewish History in New York, and La Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah-Fellow Humboldt

She is currently an assistant professor at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the coordinator of the Underground Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto publication project. She has written a number of articles on the Holocaust and its aftermath in occupied Europe, and has edited four volumes of documents from the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto. Her book, Assimilated Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto 1940–1943, was published in 2014 by Syracuse University Press. As a Humboldt postdoctoral fellow in the IfZ she is currently finishing a book project dealing with Jews from Poland in the displaced persons camps in Germany.B.A., Geschichte, Yale University M.A., Komparative Geschichte Ostmittel- und Südosteuropas, Central European University (Budapest, Ungarn)

EHRI Fellows 2016

Beate Müller is Reader in Modern German Studies at Newcastle University. She has worked on representations of the Holocaust in literature, music, diaries, school essays and survivor testimony. She is particularly interested in early post-war Holocaust representations as well as in Holocaust narratives involving child figures and child voices. Her respective articles have appeared in edited books and in international journals such as History and Memory, Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur, or Translation and Literature. She also contributed a podcast on child Holocaust testimonies for the German website of Yad Vashem (2013).

She has organized three Holocaust-related workshops at Newcastle University (2007, 2010, 2013), as well as participating in conferences and workshops on the Holocaust held in Austria, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Her public engagement activities include public lectures in the context of Newcastle City Council's activities for Holocaust Memorial Day (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016) and the curating of exhibitions on "Child Holocaust Testimonies" and "Children under Hitler", displayed in Newcastle's City Library in the autumn of 2015 and in January 2016.

Holocaust-related awards include a visiting scholarship at Haifa's Bucerius Institute (December 2009 / January 2010), a Small Research Grant from the British Academy for a project on "Child Voices in Holocaust Narratives: Early Post-War Testimonies, Diaries and Letters" (August 2009 – September 2010), as well as a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grant for a collaborative project on "Children in German War (Con)-Texts 1945-1949" (with Dr Debbie Pinfold, Bristol, and Dr Ute Wölfel, Reading, 2014-2016). The resultant guest-edited special issue of German Life & Letters will appear in October 2016.

Her current, EHRI-funded project on "Fine Young Democrats? German Youth in OMGUS Surveys, 1945-49" will focus on youth discourses in the opinion polls conducted by the American Military Government in Germany in the occupation period.

Katharina Hering (United States/Germany), Project Archivist, National Equal Justice Library, Georgetown Law Library, Washington, D.C., “The Ethics of Access to Case Files Documenting Reparation and Restitution Claims”

During her EHRI fellowship, she conducted research on an independent project focusing on the ethical and practical challenges of state archives and archivists to provide access to reparation and restitution case files containing personal, medical, and other privileged and confidential information.

Rachel O'Sullivan is a current PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has previously received research grants from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), a Fellowship from the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) and she was awarded two McMillan Awards by the University of Edinburgh's School of History, Classics and Archaeology (2014 and 2015).

Her PhD project investigates the possible links and continuities between European colonialism and Nazi expansion in Eastern Europe during the Second World War. The dissertation focuses on the resettlement of ethnic Germans in Poland in order to understand and demonstrate how colonial ideology and fantasies, common to many other European colonial and imperial endeavors, were employed both consciously and unconsciously by Nazi planners and Germans in the Third Reich. The colonial ideology and fantasies were potentially used as a method of strengthening justifications relating to expansion and violence, such as the need for Polish territories to be germanised for the security of the Reich.

The thesis aims to show, through an investigation of the resettlement and the uses of colonial ideology, that the atmosphere of violence which developed in the settlement areas and the colonial-style justifications and explanations for expansion, resettlement, Germanisation and the subjugation of the Polish population were major factors in the origins of the Holocaust in Poland."

Marta Zawodna, postdoctoral researcher, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, Institute of Sociology, "Ways of handling the remains of Dachau camp victims in a comparative perspective. Content analysis of press articles published from the liberation of the camp to the sixties"

Marta Zawodna’s current research project is a continuation of her PhD project (“Dead body in western culture. Ways of handling the remains of Holocaust victims in the grounds of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau und KL Kulmhof in the post-war period”). The purpose of her earlier, present, and future research is to compare the ways of dealing with human remains in different Nazi camps located in Polen, Germany and Austria for a better understanding of the general phenomenon of the afterlife of camps.

Viktoriya Sukovata, Ph. D. and Doctor of Habilitation in  Cultural Theory.
Viktoriya Sukovata works as professor of Theory of Culture and Philosophy of Science Department, in Kharkiv  National Karazin University, Ukraine.
She specializes in area of World War II and Holocaust studies, Jewish and Trauma studies, Cold War and Soviet identity, and published more than 150 articles in Ukrainian, Russian, Byelorussian, Polish, Serbian, Romanian, and American journals.
 In 2008 Viktoriya Sukovata published a monograph “Face of Other”, 520 pages (Kharkiv National Karazin university Publishing House).
Her last publications on Holocaust topics include: “The Holocaust in South-Eastern Europe: The Case of the Ukrainian Kharkiv Region” In: Holocaust: Studies and Cercetari. – Bucharest: Romanian National Institute of the Holocaust Researches “Elia Wiesel”. – 2015. - vol. 7, Issue 1 (8). – p. 137-156 and “Teaching Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Modern Ukraine: Problems and Perspectives” In: The Holocaust in Ukraine: New Sources and Perspectives. Ed. by Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies,  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC, USA. – 2013. – p. 199-211
Also Viktoriya Sukovata participated in more than 60 Ukrainian and international conferences, and she was an invited scholar in several international academic centers (in particular, in  Kennan Institute, Washington, D. C., USA, in Center for Holocaust and genocide studies and the Institute of the War Documentation, in the Netherlands,  in George Washington University, USA, in Free University, Berlin and many others).
Her current interests are focused at the art and spiritual culture during the World War II and Holocaust.

Olga Radchenko, Associate Professor (docent), Chair of tourism and hotel business, Institute of Economics and Law, National Bogdan Chmelnički-University, Cherkassy, Ukraine.

Scientific and research interests: Ukraine in the German travel literature, Ukraine in the WWII, Holocaust in Central Ukraine. She has received several international research grants, participated in international conferences in Ukraine, Germany,  Latvia, Poland and Russia. In partnership with the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation she contributed in preparation of the new permanent exhibition. She took also part in the Workshop “Documents on Holocaust”, held by Federal Archive in Berlin and EHRI in August 2016.

Cristina Spinei is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in German Studies at the University of Iasi (Romania). She studied German, English and European Studies in Iaşi, Vienna, Constance and Regensburg. She published her doctoral thesis in 2011 on Gregor von Rezzori and amongst other things she authored the first monograph on this multilateral writer. Her fields of study  are social and cultural history of Central Europe and of Bukovina; German literature of the 20th century; interrelatedness of literature, history and politics; representations of the Holocaust in German literature.

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