Aktuelle Fellows

Alexandra Pulvermacher is a PhD candidate at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, where she also works as an assistant at the Department of History. In her dissertation project, she researches the persecution of organized resistance by NKVD and Gestapo in Poland, September 1939 – June 1941, including also the persecution of Polish Jews as resistance fighters and/or members of the Polish elites. Alexandra studied history and Slavistics at the Alpen-Adria-Universität. In her history master thesis, she compared the Soviet and German deportations of Polish citizens, September 1939 – June 1941. Her further research interests include the prehistory of the Holocaust in Poland, forced migration in East Central and South Eastern Europe and the comparison of dictatorships.

Fabien Théofilakis’ research aims to offer a new perspective on Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. It explores a neglected corpus – the thousands of pages produced by the defendant who was a compulsive writer, both in the courtroom and in the cell – and compares these texts to Eichmann’s statements as a refugee in Argentina.

The project considers Adolf Eichmann’s defence as a continuation of the struggle against "the Jew" by other means, transforming his trial into both a judicial and historical stage. Drawing on the experience of the Sassen interviews in Buenos Aires, one can say that the accused places at the heart of his defence strategy an intertwined history of the Shoah and National Socialism, which depicts him as an insider in the Nazi regime. The Eichmann trial is historic, not only because of the crimes committed, but also because it became a terrain for the production of knowledge. This is key to reading the trial 60 years later on. The “Eichmannian” language, as much by what it says as by the way it says it, constitutes a privileged field of study. This is why his project makes extensive use of textual data analysis and lexicometrics.


Sina Fabian is assistant professor in the Department of History at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She specialises in the social and cultural history of Germany in the 20th century. She received her PhD from the University Potsdam and the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF). Her first book entitled “Boom in der Krise. Konsum, Tourismus, Autofahren in Westdeutschland und Großbritannien, 1970-1990“ was published in 2016.

Her current project deals with the governance of alcohol in Weimar and Nazi Germany. She looks at alcohol’s ambivalent functions in society and is especially interested in how and to what end alcohol consumption was promoted but also regulated by different actors. During her fellowship at the Zentrum für Holocaust-Studien she focuses on the role alcohol played in World War II and during the Holocaust.

She is currently editing (with Michael Wildt) a special issue on “Alcohol” of Historische Anthropologie, in which her article “Inszenierter Frohsinn. Wein und ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ im Nationalsozialismus” will be published. In 2019 she organized (with Botakoz Kassymbekova) the international workshop „Drink and Power. Alcohol and the Making of Illiberal Regimes in the Long 20th Century” which was funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Since 2017 she is also review editor for books on Nazi Germany for the online review platform “H-Soz-Kult”.

Bill Niven ist Professor für zeitgenössische deutsche Geschichte an der Nottingham Trent University in England. Er hat über die Rezeption von Friedrich Hebbel und seinen Werken im Dritten Reich promoviert, legte dann 2001 mit „Facing the Nazi Past” eine Studie vor, in der er die Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Deutschland seit der Wiedervereinigung analysierte. Es folgten Bücher und Sammelbände zu unterschiedlichen Aspekten der Aufarbeitung der deutschen Vergangenheit und Erinnerungskultur, wie z.B. „Germans as Victims” (2006, als Herausgeber) und „The Buchenwald Child”, das 2008 in deutscher Übersetzung herauskam. 2019 erschien bei Yale University Press “Hitler und Film”, in dem Niven Hitlers Beziehung zur nationalsozialistischen Filmindustrie untersuchte. Bill Niven hat auch an mehreren Ausstellungen gearbeitet. Zusammen mit Amy Williams (NTU), Andrea Hammel (Universität Aberystwyth) und Norbert Wiesneth (PhotoWerkBerlin) hat er eine Open-Air-Ausstellung zum Thema Kindertransport geschaffen, die im August 2019 am S-Bahnhof Berlin-Charlottenburg eröffnet wurde. Niven ist Gründungsmitglied des akademischen Beirats am National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire, England.

Bei der Forschungsarbeit für „Hitler und Film“  stieß Niven auf viele Dokumente, die ein interessantes Licht auf die Nachkriegsrezeption des nationalsozialistischen Filmes Jud Süß (1940) werfen. Zu diesem Thema hat er inzwischen in mehreren Archiven in Deutschland geforscht (z.B. Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Bundesarchiv Berlin, Filmarchiv Düsseldorf, Deutsches Filmarchiv Potsdam, Landeshauptarchiv Stuttgart). Geplant ist ein Buch beim Mitteldeutschen Verlag – also, auf Deutsch geschrieben – das im Frühjahr 2021 erscheinen soll, unter dem Titel ‚Jud Süß‘: Die Nachwirkungen eines nationalsozialistischen Filmes.  Die Archivarbeit ist nicht ganz abgeschlossen, und die anvisierten drei Monate in München werden vor allem dank direktem Zugang zum Archiv des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte helfen, die letzten Recherchen durchzuführen. Niven wird seine Zeit in München auch dazu benutzen, den ersten Entwurf seines Buches zu Ende zu schreiben.

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.

Jan Grabowski is a Professor of History at the University of Ottawa and an invited professor at universities in France, Israel, Poland and in the United States. For his current project titled “Open Ghettos in Occupied Poland: A Study of Institutional and Social Control” he is inquring into methods of institutional and social control which established, reinforced and maintained the borders of open ghettos:

“Our knowledge of the ghettos has been heavily influenced by historians’ focus on the largest Polish cities. We automatically associate ghettos with the closed and walled-in areas of Warsaw, Cracow or Łódź (Litzmannstadt) which are richly documented in historical literature, in popular witnesses’ accounts and which have become – mostly through films – a part of popular culture. The vast majority of Polish Jews lived and died, however, in relatively small ghettos, without any walls separating them from the so-called “Aryan” side of the city. The everyday life in the ghetto cannot, therefore, be seen only through the prism of the experience of Jews of the few largest Polish cities. In smaller ghettos the only barrier separating the Jews and non-Jews was a mental one.  People simply knew where the ghetto started and where it ended. These were the so-called “open” ghettos. In other areas there were the Germans established the  “semi-open” ghettos whose boundaries were indicated by flimsy wooden fences or strings of barbed wire. In both cases, leaving the ghetto was not the real problem. Surviving on the other side, however, was.  Despite the relative “openess” of these smaller ghettos, they have also become – just as the large walled-in ghettos of Warsaw or Łódź – places of starvation, misery and death of thousands of Jews. The goal of this research project is to inquire into methods of institutional and social control which established, reinforced and maintained the borders of these open ghettos, making them deadly traps for more than 1.4 million Polish Jews. For this research project, I have selected ten open, or semi-open ghettos which were similar in size (4 to 12.000 inhabitants) located in four districts of occupied Poland. I decided to leave out the fifth district (Galizien) where majority of the population was Ukrainian and where social and ethnic dynamics were very different than in central Poland.”

In 2011 Dr. Grabowski has been appointed the Baron Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim Chair for the Study of Racism, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel. He has authored and edited 15 books and published more than 60 articles in English, French, Polish, German and Hebrew. Professor Grabowski’s book: Hunt for the Jews. Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland has been awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for 2014.  In 2016-17 Grabowski was the Ina Levine Senior Invitational Scholar in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. His most recent work: Night Without End. Fate of Jews in selected counties of occupied Poland, 2 vols.  (Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, editors), has been published in April 2018, in Warsaw, in Polish. His forthcoming book “On Duty. The Role of the Polish “Blue” Police in the Holocaust” is scheduled for publication in March 2020.


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