PhD Candidates

Jose Luis Aguilar López-Baraja

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 until December 2020 Jose Luis Aguilar López-Barajas was a research assistant and PhD student and at the Graduate School. In 2016 he earned his master's degree in contemporary history at the Complutense University of Madrid. From February to June 2010 he was a research assistant at the Łech Wałęsa Institut of Kraków. José Luis Aguilar studied history from 2010 to 2014 in the University of Granada and in the Jagiellonian University Kraków.

The History of Tourism from a comparative perspective: The GDR and the Franco dictatorship in the sixties and seventies.

The project examines the history of tourism in the GDR and the Spanish dictatorship during the sixties and seventies. It compares the institutional framework of tourism, its goals and the ideological requirements of both governments. In addition, it addresses the question of the new tourist possibilities enabled by the economic development of both states, represented by the use of the car as a means of transport for leisure trips. At the core of this project is the personal experience of the tourist which will be compared to the relationship between the citizens and the state and the extent of freedom permitted by the two authoritarian governments to the tourist.


José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas,Los intelectuales y el Gulag. Aleksander Solzhenitsyn en la cultura española 1973-1982, (Apeiron Verlag) Madrid 2017.


José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas, “Resistencia civil noviolenta. La lucha contra el Socialismo Real en Polonia”, in: Polis (2016), Vol. 15, Nr. 43, S. 203-227.

José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas, “La disidencia soviética tras el Acta Final de Helsinki. El caso de Solzhenitsyn en España”, in: Pérez Garzón/Juan Sisinio, La Historia ¿Lost in translation?. Actas del XIII congreso de Historia Contemporánea, Cuenca, Universidad de Castilla la Mancha, 2017, S. 859-871.

José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas, “Recursos digitales y aplicaciones telemáticas en los archivos militares: posibilidades para el estudio de las Historia del África Subsahariana y el Magreb”, in: Pérez Garzón/Juan Sisinio, La Historia ¿Lost in translation?. Actas del XIII congreso de Historia Contemporánea, Cuenca, Universidad de Castilla la Mancha, 2017, S. 3161-3173.

José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas, “RUIZ JIMÉNEZ, José Ángel. Y llegó la barbarie. Nacionalismo y juegos de poder en la destrucción de Yugoslavia, Barcelona, Ariel, 2016, 456 pp.”, Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea (2016), Vol. 28, S. 474-475.

José Luis Aguilar López-Barajas, “El empleo de las redes sociales en la educación y las posibilidades que ofrecen los servicios de mensajería instantánea. El caso de Telegram”, Universidad de Málaga, I Congreso Virtual: La educación en el siglo XXI. März 2016.

Martin Breternitz

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 until June 2021 Martin Breternitz has been a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School "The GDR and the European Dictatorships after 1945" Friedrich Schiller University Jena. From August 2016 to February 2017 he received a scholarship from the Weimar School of Music for his PhD project. After studying abroad in Italy, he went on to graduate in the history of jazz and popular music from the Franz Liszt School of Music Weimar. There he worked on the DFG project 'melodic-rhythmical forms of jazz improvisation' under his current PhD advisor Prof. Dr Martin Pfleiderer. Martin Breternitz studied systematic and historical musicology from 2007 to 2012 at the University of Leipzig.

Jazz in the GDR: Music, Scenes and Tones-in-between Under State Socialism in the Region of Thuringia. 

Jazz in the GDR was diverse, sometimes subversive, often nonconformist and always carried with it the idea of freedom. Opposed to it stood the rigid state apparatus, whose cultural authority oscillated between repression, control and appropriation. Jazz was at every point in the history of the GDR relevant, present and popular, both socially and artistically, and caused friction between the socialist state and the jazz communities. Using theories of cultural transfer the PhD project researches historic interrelations, stylistic aspects and forms of acquirement of jazz. On the other, it aims to highlight the means of control of the GDR’s cultural authority and it’s diverse lines of action. In a widespread study of the jazz scenes in the cultural region of Thuringia, constituted by many communities and networks of jazz fans and jazz clubs, perspectives of people trying to listen, perform and organise their music living under a dictatorship are viewed from an everyday history approach.


Martin Breternitz, Jazz in Jena. Eine musikaffine Szene zwischen Subkultur, Nonkonformismus und gesellschaftlicher Nische in den 1980er Jahren, in: Gerbergasse 18 (2017), 22 (2), S. 38-42.

Olga Filippenko

PhD student I Research assistant

From September 2017 to December 2020 Olga Filippenko was a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School. From 2015 to 2017 Olga Filippenko studied at Novosibirsk State University and graduated with a master’s degree of social and political history of Russia. She took part in Prof. Dr Sergei Krasilnikov's scientific seminar with the research topic The deported peasants in Western Siberia: the expulsion, deployment, adaptation in the special settlement in 1930-1936.

Special settlers in Western Siberia in 1945-1955

The project will cover the main features of the Stalinist regime's policy regarding the special settlements of the post-war period and the reaction of the special settlers to this policy. The policy's causes, forms, scale and results will also be investigated.



Olga Filippenko, «Obraz» kulaka v predstavlenii regionalnykh vlastey (na osnove politicheskikh kharakteristik Maslyaninskogo rayona), Irkutskiy istoriko-ekonomicheskiy yezhegodnik, Irkutsk 2017, S. 274-84. 

Olga Filippenko, Konfiskatsiya imushchestva krestyan Maslyaninskogo rayona Zapadno-Sibirskogo kraya v 1930-1931 gg, Aktual'nyye problemy: vzglyad molodykh uchenykh: sbornik materialov Vserossiyskoy molodezhnoy nauchnoy shkoly-konferentsii (2016), S. 190 -98.

Olga Filippenko , Dokumentatsiya Zapsibkrayispolkoma o vosstanovlenii v grazhdanskikh pravakh trudposelentsev v 1935-1936 gg. kak massovyy istochnik: vozmozhnosti izucheniya, Irkutskiy istoriko-ekonomicheskiy yezhegodnik, Irkutsk 2016, S. 530-39. 

Olga Filippenko), Dezadaptivnoye povedeniye spetsposelentsev v Zapadnoy Sibiri pervoy poloviny 1930-kh godov: formy, dinamika, posledstviya, Aktualnyye problemy: vzglyad molodykh uchenykh: sbornik materialov chetvertoy vserossiyskoy molodezhnoy nauchnoy konferentsii, S. 196-204.

Olga Kanyshkova (Filippenko), Metodika izucheniya deloproizvodstvennoy dokumentatsii Zapsibkrayispolkoma o massovom vosstanovlenii v grazhdanskikh pravakh trudposelentsev v 1935-1936 gg, Sibirskiye arkhivy v nauchnom i informatsionnom prostranstve sovremennogo obshchestva: materialy mezhregionalnoy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii, Novosibirsk 2015, S. 51-56.

Olga Kanyshkova (Filippenko), 'Mekhanizmy adaptatsii spetspereselentsev Zapadnoy Sibiri v 1936 godu (na primere Anzherskoy i Parabelskoy uchastkovykh komendatur) ', Repressirovannaya sibirskaya provintsiya, Novosibirsk 2013, S. 25-35.

Christina Heiduck

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 until December 2021 Christina Heiduck has been a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School. She is also responsible for the Graduate School’s public relations work. Christina Heiduck studied in Kraków, Lublin and Jena where she earned her master’s degree in 2017. From 2014 to 2017 she worked as a graduate assistant for the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena. In 2016 she held a scholarship from the Gesellschaft für Studentischen Austausch in Mittel-und Osteuropa (GFPS).

Cosmonauts as Heroes in the GDR and the People's Republic of Poland -
Sigmund Jähn and Mirosław Hermaszewski

The iconography of various personalities characterised daily life in socialist countries. Communist founding fathers, cosmonauts and remarkable athletes were not only celebrated for their achievements, but also exploited by the system. The splendour of their actions was supposed to transfer to the political leaders of their respective countries. They were seen as living proof of belonging to an advanced political system and legitimising it at the same time. However, although both the GDR and the People's Republic of Poland strove for communism and sometimes individuals with a very similar political and personal background were stylized as heroes, their myths were staged quite differently in the two countries.

Communists of the first generation, such as Ernst Thälmann and Karol Świerczewski found their way into the hero canon, as did the pioneers in space Sigmund Jähn and Mirosław Hermaszweski, but their public reputation and their impacts were far from similar.

The aim of this PhD project is to compare the people who found their way into the East German and Polish press and everyday life as myths. Looking at their very different staging with varying levels of success, the diverse manifestations of socialism will be explored.



Christina Heiduck, Das Lager Płaszów in Krakau und seine dislozierte Erinnerung, in: Jörg Ganzenmüller/Raphael Utz (Hg.), Orte der Shoah in Polen. Gedenkstätten zwischen Mahnmal und Museum, Köln (Böhlau Verlag) 2016, S. 199-218.

Christina Heiduck, Kosmonauten, in: Ronald G. Asch/Achim Aurnhammer/Georg Feitscher/Anna Schreurs-Morét (Hg.), Compendium heroicum, publiziert vom Sonderforschungsbereich 948 „Helden – Heroisierungen – Heroismen“ der Universität Freiburg, Freiburg 27.02.2020.

Konstantin Heinisch-Fritzsche

Associated PhD student I Scholarship holder of the Ettersberg Foundation

Since March 2017 Konstantin Heinisch-Fritzsche has been a PhD student at the Graduate School. In January 2017 he received a doctoral scholarship from the Ettersberg Foundation in Weimar for his work on sports history and Italian fascism. In 2018 an 2019 this project was additionally supported by the German Historical Institute in Rome as part of a scholarship. Since 2012 he has worked as a student and research assistant at the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena and was also employed as a research assistant at the Institute of Romanticism Studies of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena from 2013 to 2016. From 2013 to 2016 he completed a master's degree in modern history at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and in 2015 he worked for two months as an intern at the German Historical Institute in Rome. He completed two bachelor degrees at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena from 2008 to 2014, studying history and politics as well as sports and Italian language, the latter as a double degree.

Sport and football as a transmitter of domination and ideology in fascist Italy

The dissertation aims to investigate the importance of the phenomenon of sport in fascist Italy by using football as an example and thus contributing to the understanding of the wider topic of how sport and dictatorship can be intertwined.

Italian fascism in this respect represents a desideratum of research, yet it pioneered the use of sport for the legitimisation of its rule and ideology and was exemplary in many respects for both state-organised popular and elite sport. Italian football was symbolic of this, particularly the founding of the Italian football league Serie A in 1929, which marked the pinnacle of the comprehensive reform processes of Italian football since the mid-twenties. While sports were generally co-opted in fascist Italy, it was football that gained the most sensational victories internationally and thus contributed to the self-legitimisation of the regime. Winning two World Cups in 1934 and 1938 as well as the Olympic victory in 1936 demonstrated this impressively. In particular, the national football team, the Squadra Azzurra, was assigned the role of creating a sense of national cultural identity

An in-depth analysis of football as a microcosm of Italian fascism therefore has the potential to further explore the specificity of Italian fascism, not just from the perspective of the history of ideas but also from a social history perspective. Therefore, this dissertation will draw on a cultural-historical research approach to illuminate the ideological ideas of the fascists and shine a light on their inherent conceptual contradictions.  In doing so, aspects of the regime´s mode of rule will be investigated that were concerned with the instrumentalisation of sport for the normalisation of the dictatorship. Taking a new perspective the appropriation processes on the part of the athletes and the recipients will also be explored.


Konstantin Fritzsche, Individuelle Formen der Sinnstiftung nach dem Zivilisationsbruch: Die Darstellung des »jüdischen Widerstands« in Sobibór und Treblinka in den Zeugnissen von drei Überlebenden, in: Jörg Ganzenmüller/Raphael Utz (Hg.): Orte der Shoah in Polen.
Gedenkstätten zwischen Mahnmal und Museum, Wien/Köln/Weimar 2016, S. 277-303.

Conference proceedings

Konstantin Fritzsche, Europas vergessene Diktaturen? Diktatur und Diktaturüberwindung in Spanien, Portugal und Griechenland. 04.11.2016 - 05.11.2016, Weimar, in: H-Soz- Kult 07.03.2017.

Rita Horn

PhD student I Research assistant

From October 2017 until December 2020 Rita Horn was a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School. After her parental leave she worked from 2015 to 2017 as a research assistant at the Institute of Classical Archaeology in Jena for the project Provenienz in der Sammlung für Antike Kleinkunst Jena – Zur Problematik von Zugängen während des Nationalsozialismus, which was funded by the Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste.  At the same time she held the position of curator at the university collection of classical antiquities.  Rita Horn also gained experience in the field of museum education during funded educational projects. Her academic interest focuses on the history of research in classical archaeology, especially during the twentieth century. Rita Horn studied classical archaeology, ancient history and art history from 2005 to 2011 at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

The Jena Institute of Classical Archaeology and its collections between 1945 and 1989

History repeatedly proves that fragmentary traditions and remains of ancient cultures are highly prone to contemporary interpretations. Horn’s research starts from this point and focuses on the period from 1945 to 1990. The Institute of Classical Archaeology in Jena was at that time the only major course in classical archaeology outside of the capital Berlin and was therefore deliberately chosen to answer the following questions:

 Which topics were in the focus of academic research and teaching and how were these contents communicated to the students as well as the public?

What was the special interest in the ancient world and to what extent and for what purpose was it ideologically instrumentalised?

Did the Soviet Occupation Zone as well as the German Democratic Republic consider and use antiquity and the studies of classical archaeology as a matrix to construct or legitimise its own socialist system, as the approach of the British social and economic historian Sir Moses I. Finley indicates for other areas of classical studies?

What was the impact of this concept on the real socialist cultural life?

The following reappraisal aims to look back on the social function of classical archaeology as a minor academic subject and reappraise its meaning in a past ideological system.


Rita Horn, „Die Schenkung Otto Wohlberedt aus dem Jahr 1940. Eine Fallstudie zum universitären Umgang mit antiken Objekten in Zeiten des Nationalsozialismus“, Kiel 2017 (= Band zur Jahrestagung des Deutschen Archäologen Verbandes).

Rita Horn, „Die Stiftung Otto Wohlberedt – Eine Fallstudie zum ambivalenten universitären Umgang mit antiken Objekten zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus“, in: Band zur Tagung „Jenseits von Palmyra. Kulturgüterschutz in der Lehre“ des Dachverbands Archäologischer Studierendenvertretung e.V. (Erscheinungsdatum: 1. Jahreshälfte 2018).

Christian Jänsch

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 until June 2019 Christian Jänsch has been a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Graduate School. In his master’s thesis he has fundamentally dealt with the (post-event) history of the women’s camp Penig, (Außenkommando Penig) one of the sub camps of the Buchenwald concentration camp. From 2013 to 2016 Christian Jänsch studied history and politics of the 20th Centuryat the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. During this period he worked as a student researcher at the Imre Kertesz Kolleg Jena, as well as a freelancer for the Buchenwald memorial in Weimar.


After ‘Euthanasia’: Disability policy and Constructions of ‘Disability’ in the Soviet Occupation Zone and GDR between 1945 and 1965

The project’s starting points are questions in the field of disability history; how the post-genocidal GDR society  regarded ‘disabled’ people, which (imposed) status these people had in a self-proclaimed socialism like the GDR, and ultimately what it meant for their lives to be generally categorised as ‘disabled’ or ‘maimed’ by various sources. Inextricably linked to these issues are critical questions about the health care system of the totalitarian state in the aftermath of National Socialism and questions about the possibilities for self-determination of people who were dependent on specific individual help and support. An interdisciplinary approach from both the historical and the socio scientific perspective, provides a close look into the “clinical gaze” (Michel Foucault) and the “historical becoming of the disability construction” (Anne Klein) in the context of the inter-German relationship, as well as a chance to evaluate the medical-therapeutic advances and relevant government reforms which are often regarded as indicators of an allegedly improved system by their social impacts.


Christian Jänsch/Alexander Walther, Kulmhof/Chelmno nad Nerem, in:Jörg Ganzenmüller/Raphael Utz (Hg.), Orte der Shoah in Polen. Gedenkstätten zwischen Mahnmal und Museum, Köln/Weimar/Wien 2016 (= Schriften der Stiftung Ettersberg, Bd. 22), S. 67-98.

Christian Jänsch/Alexander Walther, Zur Würde von Menschen an Orten nationalsozialistischer Massenverbrechen, in: Jörg Ganzenmüller/Raphael Utz (Hg.), Orte der Shoah in Polen. Gedenkstätten zwischen Mahnmal und Museum, Köln/Weimar/Wien 2016 (= Schriften der Stiftung Ettersberg, Bd. 22), S. 329-347.

Articles in the daily press

Christian Jänsch, Zwangsarbeit in der Nachbarschaft, in: Freie Presse Chemnitz (Lokalteil Rochlitz) vom 5. August 2017, S. 13.

Christian Jänsch, Der Tag der Befreiung, in: Freie Presse Chemnitz (Lokalteil Rochlitz) vom 12. August 2017, S. 15.

Christian Jänsch, Täter nicht zur Verantwortung gezogen, in: Freie Presse Chemnitz (Lokalteil Rochlitz) vom 19. August 2017, S. 13.

Kathrin Klausmeier

PhD student I Research assistant

Kathrin Klausmeier finished her PhD Project 2019. She was PhD Student and Research Assistant at the Graduate School from November 2017 until July 2018. Previously she was Lehrkraft für besondere Aufgaben and Research Assistant at the Institute of History/Ruhr-University in Bochum. She held a scholarship at the Alfried-Krupp-Schülerlabor in Bochum. 

Teaching the History of the GDR: Norm and empiricism using the example of Thuringian pupils

The aim of this project is to examine student’s concepts of and attitudes to  the GDR and to expound the conditions of historical learning and teaching. How do students think about the GDR? How do they perceive the GDR? Using quantitative research and individual interviews different representations of history will be ascertained and discussed with recourse to theories of historical learning. Didactical consequences for improving the teaching of the GDR History can then be formulated.


Kathrin Klausmeier, Die DDR war keine Diktatur!? Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie zu den Vorstellungen Jugendlicher von der DDR, in: Anna von Armin-Rosenthal/ Jens Hüttmann, Diktatur und Demokratie im Unterricht: Der Fall DDR, Berlin 2017, S. 88-99.

Ulrich Trautwein/Christiane Bertram/Bodo von Borries/Nicola Brauch/Matthias Hirsch/Kathrin Klausmeier (u.a.), Kompetenzen historischen Denkens erfassen. Konzeption, Operationalisierung und Befunde des Projekts „Historical Thinking – Competencies in History“ (HiTCH), Münster/New York 2017.



Kathrin Klausmeier (Rez.), Bernhard Schoßig: Historisch-politische Bildung und Gedenkstättenarbeit als Aufgabe der Jugendarbeit in Bayern. Einrichtungen - Projekte - Konzepte, München 2011, in: Außerschulische Bildung 2 (2014), S. 193-194.

Kathrin Klausmeier (Rez.), Ian Davies, Debates in History Teaching. London/New York 2011, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtsdidaktik 11 (2012), S. 264-266.

Janin Klein

PhD student I Research assistant

Janin Klein was a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School from September 2017 until December 2020. She studied German and history at the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel and obtained an MA in Education in January 2017.

The international study courses on the Wilhelm-Pieck youth school: Teaching, learning and living in the Kaderschmiede of the GDR.

In 1946 the FDJ founded a youth school at the Bogensee, near Berlin, to educate officials according to the Marxist-Leninist model. Since 1958 study courses for members of international youth organisations took place at the school. This shows that the FDJ played an important role in the foreign affairs of the GDR. The school was the place within the GDR where the FDJ could exert their influence on foreign adolescents. The project will analyse how this role formed at the school and how the active foreign policy of the GDR was reflected in the school’s program, focussing on the students, the curriculum and the coexistence of German and foreign guests at the school.


Janin Klein, Verspielte Einheit? Der kalte Krieg und die doppelte Staatsgründung. 13.04.2019 Erfurt. In H-Soz-Kult 03.08.2019.


Janin Klein, Joachim-Ernst von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön. Die innen- und außenpolitischen Handlungsspielräume eines „abgeteilten Herren“, in, Oliver Auge u.a. (Hg.), Die Herzöge von Plön. Eutin 2017, S. 59-78.

Janin Klein/Simon Hansen/Patrick Nehrkorn, Erzählte Leben. Wie literarische Figuren ihre Identität durch Geschichten verändern, in, Ingo Irsigler/Gerrit Lembke (Hg.), Spiel, Satz und Sieg. 10 Jahre Deutscher Buchpreis, Berlin 2014, S. 201-232.

Klara Muhle

PhD student I Research assistant

From March to December 2020 Klara Muhle has been a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School. Beforehand she has been a scholarship holder of the Ettersberg Foundation since January 2017 and has been an associated member of the Graduate School since March 2017. She worked as a graduate research assistant at the Ettersberg Foundation from August to December 2016. Since October 2016, has she been a graduate assistant for the DFG Project Tribunals: War crime trials in socialist Yugoslavia. In 2014 she began working as a student research assistant, and later became a graduate assistant for the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena. Klara Muhle studied history and English from 2010 to 2015 and received her teaching certificate at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

The Belgrade Trial 1946: A War Crime Tribunal in Early Yugoslavia

This research project focuses on the Belgrade Trial, which took place from 10th June to 15th July 1946. Twenty-four high-ranking Serbs, some of whom were rivals, were indicted. Among them was Dragoljub "Draža" Mihailović, the Serbian war minister who was appointed during the war by the government in exile. His death penalty sentence and subsequent execution (carried out in 1946) are still a topic of highly charged debate today. In May 2015 after a nine-year lawsuit, his sentence was annulled by the High Court in Belgrade. The goal of the project is to use the example of the Belgrade Trial to examine how the past of socialist Yugoslavia and the post-socialist Serbian state was accounted for in three steps: the trial, the reception and the aftermath.



Klara Muhle, Der historische Ort der ehemaligen Tötungsstätte Sobibór, in: Jörg Ganzenmüller/Raphael Utz (Hg.), Orte der Shoah in Polen. Gedenkstätten zwischen Mahnmal und Museum, (Böhlau Verlag) Köln 2016, S. 147-166.

Conference proceedings

Klara Muhle/Cornelia Bruhn, Tagungsbericht Die Anziehungskraft von Totalitarismus. Die Ursprünge, Bedeutungen und politischen Zyklen eines Konzeptes in Zentral- und Osteuropa, 06.10.2016 - 08.10.2016 Jena, in: H-Soz-Kult, 15.02.2017.

Klara Muhle, Gera? Hier ist Gera! 27 Jahre nach der Wiedervereinigung. Tagung zur Zeitgeschichte und den Perspektiven Geras, 06.05.2017 Gera, in: H-Soz-Kult, 05.09.2017.

Julia Reinke

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 to December 2020 Julia Reinke has been a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Graduate School "The GDR and the European Dictatorships after 1945". Having worked as a freelance historian (including museum and publishing work), she worked as a research assistant at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) in Leipzig from July 2016 until June 2017. In 2013 she was awarded the Scientific Prize of the Polish Ambassador in Munich for her final thesis West-German Relations towards Poland in the Early 1980s: Reactions to Solidarność and Martial Law against the Backdrop of the Cold War and German-Polish History. She has worked as a tutor, teaching assistant and student assistant at various chairs of the Institute of History in Freiburg. Julia Reinke studied early modern and modern history, economic and social history and political science at Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Asylum in State Socialism: Refugees from the Greek Civil War in the German Democratic Republic and the Polish People’s Republic

In the aftermath of the lost Greek Civil War in 1949, up to 100 000 defeated communist partisans and their relatives were given asylum in the states of the emerging “Eastern Bloc”, up to 30 000 children were among them. During the course of this concerted action, around 1200 Greek children found their way into the GDR. While historical migration studies for the Cold War have addressed flight and exile primarily as an “East-to-West” phenomenon, the proposed PhD project focuses on political immigration to the “Eastern Bloc”. The case of this refugee diaspora also offers the opportunity to transcend a nationally constricted perspective: By contrasting the situation with its equivalent in the neighboring People’s Poland, the project seeks to contextualise the topic transnationally. Exploring the refugee policies of these “countries of emigration”, questions involve the interplay of local, nation-state and international actors as well as the interrelation of refugees within their respective framework conditions. The project aims to analyse the socialist refugee management as well as to contribute to a deeper understanding of state and society in state socialism.



Julia Reinke: (De-)Constructing Central Europe: From Mitteleuropa to Visions of a Common Europe, 1918-2018, 18.10.2018 – 20.10.2018 Frankfurt an der Oder / Słubice, in: H-Soz-Kult, 06.05.2019,


Julia Reinke, Nationales Totengedenken: Standortsuche für ein Reichsehrenmal, in: Dieter Daniels/ Christine Dorothea Hölzig/Volker Rodekamp (Hg.), Freiheit Einheit Denkmal. Teil 1: Politische Denkmale in Leipzig. Ausstellung im Stadtgeschichtlichen Museum Leipzig, Leipzig 2014, S. 24-25.

Julia Reinke, Verhandelte Symbole: Denkmale in der Weimarer Republik. Leipziger Denkmalskrieg, in: ebd., S. 22-23.

Julia Reinke, Zwischen Monarchie und Drittem Reich. Zur Leipziger Denkmalskultur in der Weimarer Republik, in: Markus Cottin/Gerald Kolditz/Beate Kusche (Hg.), Leipziger Stadtgeschichte. Jahrbuch 2015, im Auftrag des Leipziger Geschichtsvereins, Beucha/Markkleeberg 2016, S. 201-214.

Johannes Streitberger

PhD student I Research assistant

From March 2017 until March 2021 Johannes Streitberger has been a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School. He completed his BA in mathematics and history with teacher training at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. From 2013 until 2016 he worked as a student assistant at the computing centre of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Jena.

Going from the Third Reich to the GDR: The Transformation of Society and Politics in the Saalfeld District.

The doctoral project examines the renegotiation of social and political communal life in the Saalfeld district after the end of the Second World War. The focus of this thesis is the practical implementation of measures proposed by the occupying power and by German politics, and the impact this had on local society. The interwoven process of cleansing of National Socialism and 'dictatorship enforcement' by the Socialist Unity Party will be examined for examples of agency and appropriation, for continuities and discontinuities, for ways of dealing with the Nazi past, and to determine how much room for manoeuvre local protagonists had. In doing so, it sheds light on the ways in which denazification and expropriation were instrumentalised as a vehicle for legitimising power claims, settling disputes and securing personal benefits.


Jakub Szumski

PhD student I Research assistant

Jakub Szumski was a PhD student and research assistant at the Graduate School from September 2017 until December 2020. In addition he has been a PhD student at the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw since 2014. His research is funded by the Polish National Science Centre. He has held scholarships at the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in Marburg and from the Gemeinschaft für studentischen Austausch in Mittel-und Osteuropa (GFPS) in Berlin.

The Coming to Terms with Political Corruption and Cases of Abuse of Office in the German Democratic Republic and Poland during the 1980s: A Historical-Sociological Study

Popular claims against corruption within the political elite and worldwide revolutions go hand in hand. The people demand punishment for the wrongdoers, while the ruling elite is unable to respond. In the Polish People’s Republic during the Solidarity Revolution (1980/1981) and in the German Democratic Republic during the Peaceful Revolution (1989/1990) it was no different. The main objective of the dissertation is to determine what role coming to terms with political corruption and abuse of office cases played in the two countries. The asynchronous comparison provides the opportunity to answer general questions regarding revolution and corruption. The project will show the normality and the peculiarities of the communist dictatorship and its characteristics.


Jakub Szumski, Rozliczenia z ekipą Gierka 1980–1984, Warschau 2018. 


Jakub Szumski, What Happened in 1980? Memory Forging and the Official Story of Martial Law in the Polish United Workers’ Party, in: Agnieszka Mrozik/Stanislav Holubec (Hg.), Historical Memory of Central and East European Communism, Routledge Studies in Cultural History, New York (Routledge) 2018, S. 165 – 192.

Jakub Szumski, Allein gegen die Partei. Zbigniew Iwanów – der Rebell in der Polnischen Vereinigten Arbeiterpartei 1980/81 (= Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung), Berlin 2018.

Jakub Szumski, Międzynarodowy terroryzm w polskiej literaturze i prasie lat siedemdziesiątych (wybrane przykłady), „Polska 1944-45/1989. Studia i Materiały” 2016 (14).

Jakub Szumski, Między radykalizmem a stabilizacją. Polska emigracja górnicza w Belgii 1918-1939, „Neerlandica Wratislaviensia” 2015 (25).