Former Fellows 2021

Kamil Kijek is a Assistant Professor at the Jewish Studies Department, University of Wrocław, Poland.  He has been a Prins Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York and Sosland Family Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. During his doctoral studies he held various fellowships in Israel, Germany and United Kingdom. His research interest include Central-East European Jewish History in the end of XIX and in XX century, social and cultural theory.  

"The Last Polish Shtetl? Jewish Community of Dzierżoniów, Jewish World, the Cold War and Communism (1945-1950)"

The goal of the research project is to analyze, describe and explain the main phenomena that characterized the first 5 years of the post-Holocaust Jewish community in Poland through a microanalysis of the Jewish community of one particular Lower Silesian town, thereby shedding new light on three major fields of history: Polish, Jewish and the Cold War. This study is devoted to the town of Dzierżoniów (formerly German Reichenbach) in Lower Silesia, a region that was annexed by the Polish state following the Second World War and the Potsdam Peace conference in July-August 1945. In July 1946, Dzierżoniów held approximately 11,000 Jewish inhabitants, who comprised almost 50% of the town's population. Until 1950 this proportion had never dropped below 20% making Dzierżoniów a unique place on the map of post-Holocaust Europe, branded by some observers at the time as “the last Polish shtetl”.

Through perspective of microhistorical study on one particular community, this project aims to throw a new light and provide new explanations of large historical processes: The character of the the Polish Jewish community after the Holocaust, construction and demise of so called Jewish autonomy in post-Holocaust Poland in the years 1945-1950, dynamics of the relations between new centers of the Jewish world (USA, Palestine/Israel) and the former Polish center, Cold War evolution of transnational Jewish politics, changes in Jewish social structure, expulsion of the German population and the polonization of Lower Silesia, and finally, the dynamics and character of Jewish attitudes towards the new political system being installed in Poland.

Daan de Leeuw is a PhD Candidate in History at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. He holds a BA (cum laude) and MA (cum laude) in History from the University of Amsterdam. His MA thesis about German physicians as perpetrators of human subject research in German concentration camps has been awarded the Volkskrant-IISG Thesis Award 2014.

In his dissertation “The Geography of Slave Labor: Dutch Jews and the Third Reich, 1942-1945,” de Leeuw analyzes the trajectories of Dutch Jewish slave laborers through German concentration and annihilation camps. Drawing on a broad scope of sources, including survivor testimonies and Nazi administrative records, de Leeuw examines the movement of prisoners from camp to camp and how these transfers affected the social structures inmates created among themselves. He applies Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and cartographic tools to visualize the paths of individuals and groups of deportees to study the plight of Jewish slave laborers, to understand their agency and powerlessness, and to scrutinize the German effort to win the war through the ruthless exploitation of prisoners. De Leeuw’s doctoral project seeks to contribute to the knowledge on Jewish slave labor during WWII and to foster research on Holocaust geographies. At the Institute for Contemporary History, de Leeuw will study its archival collections to integrate the Nazi perspective about Jewish slave labor into his dissertation.

De Leeuw’s doctoral research has been supported by several fellowships and research grants, including a Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) Graduate Studies Fellowship, a Yad Vashem Summer Research Fellowship for PhD Students, a Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Grant, and an EHRI Conny Kristel Fellowship. He will also hold a 2021-2022 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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.


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.

Katrin Antweiler is a doctoral researcher at the International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture at JLU Gießen. In her dissertation "Memorialising the Holocaust in Human Rights Museums. A Comparative Analysis of Memory as a Means of Government", Katrin investigates entanglements of Holocaust memory with the Human Rights project in the light of global governmentality. In doing so, Katrin is especially interested in the ideal of a historically literate global citizen and how it is conditioned by the Holocaust – Human Rights nexus. This work is based on three case studies of Human rights museums: the Nuremberg Trials Memorium in Nuremberg, Germany, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada, and the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a special focus on the narrative about the history of the Holocaust in relation to universal human rights that each museums conveys, Katrin probes contemporary Holocaust-memory politics and their impact on democratic imaginaries of the present and the future.

Katrin studied in Bremen, Tel Aviv and Berlin, where she received an M.A. in Cultural Studies from Humboldt-University. She won a Research Track Scholarship from the Humboldt Graduate School and holds a PhD-stipend from the International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture since 2017. She further received several research grants from the DAAD and is a member of the International PhD Programme Literary and Cultural Studies as well as associated to the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela University. Katrin's wider interests are in Cultural Memory Studies, Studies of Governmentality, Decolonial Thought as well as Feminist Theory. She has lectured on Memory and Museum Studies at Humboldt University and is engaged as an educator at Holocaust-related memorial sites in and around Berlin.

Vlasta Kordová is a PhD candidate at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. She holds a state rigorosum and a master's degree in Contemporary History from the Charles University (Faculty of Arts) and a bachelor’s degree in History and German Studies at the Charles University (Faculty of Education). In her doctoral project she focuses on the issue of anti-partisan warfare beyond the Eastern Front, i.e., the structure of the National Socialist (NS) repressive apparatus, its units and strategies used for eradication of enemies in the rear.

She published a monograph and articles focusing on partisan warfare on the Eastern Front, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Holocaust and on interpretation of the WWII in Central Eastern European countries. Kordová received the Jan Patočka Fellowship at the Institute für Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna with her project Victimization and Heroization of WWII in “history making” (concerned with post-Soviet Union countries). With academic consent of prof. Philipp Ther at the University of Vienna she fulfilled her research projects concerned with (NS) repressive apparatus supported by the Österreichische Austauschdienst. During her doctoral studies, Kordová collected research experiences in Poland, Germany and Austria.

The project examines the Holocaust as one of the crimes committed by the Nazis within anti-partisan warfare in the rear of the Eastern Front. It conceptualizes the Bandenbekämpfung employed by the Nazis (a central term since the summer of 1942) and demonstrates how this term was ideologically loaded (followed-up by the concept of Vernichtungskrieg – war of annihilation) and subdivides the Bandenbekämpfung into its constituent categories. This categorisation attempts to reveal the crucial difference between our current understanding of anti‑partisan warfare during the WWII and how the NS state understood the persecution of its enemies beyond the front.

Teresa Malice is research assistant at the chair of Contemporary history at Bielefeld University. Her current Habilitation project investigates female narrations of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Austria between the 1920s and 1940s, through diaries and letters. By looking at ego-documents produced by so-called “ordinary women”, in their majority uninvolved or only partially involved in the systems of power, the project aims to proof and possibly expand the analytic potential and complexity of the concept of bystander, challenging it through a comparative perspective and a gender-based perspective which takes into account as variable, together with the repression, intimidation and coercion operated by racialized and violent states, the patriarchal, likewise repressive nature of such states. The central part of the research will be centered around coeval writings describing the impact of violence, exclusion, anti-Semitism, deportation and the Holocaust in daily lives; while the final part of it will be centered around memoirs written in the immediate postwar, looking at the repercussions of the Stunde null on interpretations of past events and narrations of the self. At the Center for Holocaust Studies, Teresa is further developing her project and visiting the archive of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte.


Teresa received her PhD in 2019 at the University of Bologna, in cotutelle with Bielefeld University, with a dissertation titled “Transnational Imaginations of Socialism. Political Town Twinning between Italy and the German Democratic Republic in the 1960s and 1970s”. She graduated in 2013 at the University of Bologna with a thesis about the uprising of June 17, 1953 in East Berlin and its reception by the Italian left. In the past few years, she has been visiting fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark (2018), start-up fellow at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (2015) and Erasmus student at the Humboldt Universität Berlin (2012). She collaborates, in research, teaching and public history projects, with Fondazione Gramsci Emilia-Romagna in Bologna, and with Istituto storico della Resistenza e dell’età contemporanea di Parma.