Fellows des Zentrums 2020

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.


Miriam Schulz is a PhD candiate at Columbia University. Her project "Keyner iz nit fargesn: Soviet Yiddish Culture and the Holocaust in the Jewish Cold War" attempts to provide a first comprehensive picture of how Soviet Jews reckoned with the Holocaust and the "Great Patriotic War" as interrelated phenomena in Yiddish.

This analysis considers both this corpus’s complex, symbiotic relation to hegemonic Soviet memorial cultures at home and the intra-Jewish Holocaust historiography and commemorations abroad.


Anna Holian is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Arizona State University. She is currently working on a book project entitled "Setting Up Shop: Jewish Economic Life in Postwar Germany." The project examines how Jews made a living in West Germany after the Holocaust and considers how making a living and making a home were intertwined. Covering the period between the end of the war and the mid-1970s, it offers a social and economic history of a long and painful (re-)integration process. It examines how Jews (re-)established themselves in business and considers what role their economic activities played in rebuilding Jewish life in West Germany.

It also considers how survivors’ personal economic histories mapped onto the economic history of the country as a whole. It challenges the prevailing view that Jews in postwar Germany were “sojourners,” temporary residents prepared to leave—and abandon their businesses—at the earliest opportunity. But it also shows that for a number of reasons, including the lasting consequences of Nazi-era persecution, postwar discrimination, and concentration in declining branches of the economy, most Jewish entrepreneurs benefited only modestly from the “economic miracle.”

Holian received a Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Chicago. She has published widely on refugees in postwar Europe and postwar German Jewish history. She is the author of Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism: Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011). She was also a founding member of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative.


Daniel Siemens ist Historiker und Professor für europäische Geschichte an der Newcastle University in Großbritannien. Promotion 2006 an der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin mit einer vergleichenden Arbeit über Massenmedien und Kriminalität in Berlin, Paris und Chicago während der Zwischenkriegszeit, Habilitation 2017 an der Universität Bielefeld mit einer Gesamtgeschichte der nationalsozialistischen Sturmabteilung (SA). Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Akademischer Rat und Oberrat an der Universität Bielefeld von 2006 bis 2011 und von 2014 bis 2017, in der Zwischenzeit DAAD-Fachlektor für Geschichte an der School of Slavonic and East European Studies des University College London. 2017 Vorstandsmitglied des „Zentrums für Theorien in der historischen Forschung“ an der Universität Bielefeld. Gastprofessuren bzw. Fellowships an der Peking University, dem Center for Advanced Studies der LMU München, an der Universität Bologna, der Hebrew University in Jerusalem und dem ZZF-Potsdam.

Monographien: Metropole und Verbrechen. Die Gerichtsreportage in Berlin, Paris und Chicago, 1919-1933 (Steiner 2006), Horst Wessel. Tod und Verklärung eines Nationalsozialisten (Siedler 2009, engl. The Making of A Nazi Hero, I.B.Tauris 2013) und Stromtroopers. A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts (Yale University Press 2017, dt. Sturmabteilung. Die Geschichte der SA, Siedler 2019). Zuletzt Mit-Herausgeber des Bandes „Was soll aus uns werden?“ Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Centralvereins deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland, Metropol 2020 (mit Regina Grundmann und Bernd J. Hartmann).

Am Zentrum für Holocauststudien forscht Siemens zur Biographie des jüdisch-deutschen Journalisten, Politikers und Hochschullehrers Hermann Budzislawski (1901-1978), der in den 1930er Jahren als Herausgeber der antifaschistischen „Neuen Weltbühne“ bekannt wurde. Ab 1940 lebte Budzislawski im New Yorker Exil, ehe er von 1948 an als Hochschullehrer und Politiker in der SBZ/DDR tätig war und die dortige „sozialistische Journalistik“ nachhaltig prägte.


Florian Zabransky is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex, UK. In his dissertation, ‘Between Love and Sexualised Violence: Male Jewish Intimacy and the Holocaust’, Florian investigates the nexus of intimacy, violence and agency male Jews experienced in ghettos, concentration camps and among partisans. In doing so, he examines i.e. romantic relationships, marriage in the ghetto, questions of reproduction such as contraception, sexual barter or sexualised violence focusing on Jewish men.

Florian received the Clemens N. Nathan Scholarship at University of Sussex for his doctoral studies, two EHRI-Fellowships, a German Historical Society research grant, and the German Historical Institute London Fellowship. During his studies of sociology at Hamburg University, Goethe-University Frankfurt and Sapienza – Universitá di Roma, he worked at institutions commemorating the Holocaust, such as the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial Site near Hamburg and the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt am Main.

His research interest include the study of the Holocaust, history of sexuality and emotions, memory and gender and critical men’s 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.


Noah Benninga is a postdoctoral researcher at the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University, a fellow of Saul Kagan Claims Conference Fellowship in Advanced Shoah Studies, and the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History at the Hebrew University. He received his PhD from Hebrew University in 2016 for his dissertation on the Material Culture of Prisoners in Auschwitz, that employs witness testimony to study the material culture and everyday life of prisoners in the ‘Metropolis of Death.’

He is the author of a number of scholarly publications, including ‘The First Person Inversion: Conscious Engagement and the Practical Past’ (Holocaust Studies: A Journal of History and Culture, 2015); ‘Jean Amery and the Negative Materiality of Language in Auschwitz’ (in: Ulrich Bielefeld and Yifaat Weiss, eds., Jean Améry: Als Gelegenheitsgast, ohne jedes Engagement, Wilhelm Fink, 2013); as well as the entry on ‘Auschwitz’ in Dan Diner’s prestigious Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur (2011).  His co-edited volume Personal Engagement and the Study of the Holocaust (Vallentine Mitchelle, 2015) includes contributions from Hayden White, Otto Dov Kulka and Aleida Assmann, among others. His prizes and honors include the President’s Fellowship, the Wolf Prize for graduate students, and the Franz Rozenzweig Minerva Fellowship.


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”.


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.


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.


Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe is a researcher and lecturer at the Freie Universität Berlin. He studied at the Viadrina European University and holds a PhD in history from the University of Hamburg. He published the first scholarly biography of the Ukrainian fascist politician Stepan Bandera (2014). He also published two books, several articles, and edited three volumes. He was a fellow of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, and the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research. Currently he researches the history of the Polish city mayors in the General Government.



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