Atina Grossmann

Atina GrossmannAtina Grossmann holds a position as a Professor of History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Cooper Union in New York City. Her publications include Reforming Sex: The German Movement for Birth Control and Abortion Reform, 1920-1950 (1995), Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran (2012), and co-edited volumes on Crimes of War: Guilt and Denial in the Twentieth Century 2002) and After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe (2009), as well as articles on gender in modern German history and history and memory in postwar Germany, and (with Tamar Lewinsky) the chapter on 1945-1949 in Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland Von 1945 bis zur Gegenwart (ed. Michael Brenner, 2012, English version, Indiana University Press, 2016).

Her book Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007, German, Wallstein 2012)) was awarded the George L. Mosse Prize of the American Historical Association  and the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History from the Wiener Library, London. She has held fellowships from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), German Marshall Fund, Institute for Advanced Study, American Academy in Berlin, and finally Davis Center at Princeton University in spring 2015. She has also held Guest Professorships at the University of Haifa, Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and within 2014-1015 at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Her current research activities focus on “Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran, and India,” as well as the entanglements of family memoir and historical scholarship.


Presented Lecture: “Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran, and India”
The paper addresses a transnational Holocaust story that remarkably – despite several decades  of intensive scholarly and public attention to the history and memory of the Shoah – has remained essentially untold, marginalized in both historiography and commemoration. The majority of the c. 250,000 Jews who constituted the “saved remnant” (She’erit Hapleta) of East European Jewry gathered in Allied Displaced Persons camps survived because they had been “deported to life” in the Soviet Union. Moreover, Iran became a central site for Jewish relief efforts as well as a crucial transit stop for the Polish Army in Exile and the “Teheran Children” on their way to Palestine; Jewish refugees, both allied and “enemy alien,” were also a significant presence in British India, in internment camps, orphanages, and the Jewish Relief Association of Bombay. The paper seeks to integrate these largely unexamined experiences and lost memories of displacement and trauma into our understanding of the Shoah, and to remap the landscape of persecution, survival, relief and rescue during and after World War II.  It asks how this “Asiatic” experience shaped definitions (and self-definitions) as “survivors,” in the immediate postwar context of displacement and up to the present globalization of Holocaust and post-colonial memory, including a very recent “boomlet” of narratives (electronic and hard-copy publications, re-publications, and translations into English) about “surviving the Holocaust” in the Soviet Union.


Selective List of Publications

  • Where Did All “Our” Jews Go? Germans and Jews in Post-Nazi Germany,” in The Germans and the Holocaust: Popular Responses to the Persecution and murder of the Jews, eds. Susanna Schrafstetter and Alan E. Steinweiss (New York: Berghahn, 2016).
  • “Rabbi Steven Schwarzschild’s Reports from Berlin, 1948-1950,” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 2015, Introduction to annotated special section reprinting the original reports, 1-6.
  • “Vishniac and the Surviving Remnant,” with Avinoam Patt, in Roman Vishniac Redisovered, ed. Maya Benton (New York: International Center of Photography, 2015), 205-210.
  • Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany 1945-1949 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). German edition Juden, Deutsche, und Allierte: Begegnungen im besetzten Deutschland (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2012).
  • Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran. (Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2012).
  • Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland von 1945 bis zur Gegenwart: Politik, Kultur, und Gesellschaft, ed. Michael Brenner, with D. Diner, N. Frei, L. Gorelik, C. Goschler, A. Kauders, T. Lewinsky,and Y.Weiss (Munich: Beck, 2012).
  • After the Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe, with Rita Chin, Heide Fehrenbach, and Geoff Eley. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009).
  • “Remapping Relief and Rescue: Flight, Displacement, and International Aid for Jewish Refugees during World War II.” New German Critique 117 (Fall 2012).
  • “Family Files: Emotions and Stories of (Non-) Restitution.” German Historical Institute London Bulletin 34:1 (May 2012).
  • “Grams, Calories, and Food: Languages of Victimization, Entitlement, and Human Rights in Occupied Germany.” Central European History 44: 1 (2011), in special issue on “Utopia, Human Rights, and Gender,” edited by and with introduction by Atina Grossmann and Carola Sachse, March 2011. Revised in The Human Rights Revolution: An International History, ed. Akira Iriye, Petra Goedde, William I. Hitchcock (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • “The ‘Big Rape’: Sex and Sexual Violence, War, and Occupation in Post-World War II Memory and Imagination.” In Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights, ed. Elizabeth D. Heineman (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011).