Dr. Franziska Exeler
Research Associate and Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin)
East European History; War and Society; History of International Law and Transitional Justice
Raum A 394
Wednesdays, 2–3 pm
Franziska Exeler is Lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor) of History at Freie Universität Berlin. She is also the Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics and Junior Research Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. Her research interests include twentieth-century East European, Soviet and German history; the history of the Second World War and its legacies in Europe and Asia; Holocaust and genocide studies; myth, memory and trauma; borderlands and migration; and international law, transitional justice and legal history.
She is currently completing a book manuscript titled Ghosts of War. The Search for Truth, Guilt and Justice in the Aftermath of Nazi Occupation. Related research projects analyze how the Soviet prosecution of treason and war crimes fit into the global moment of post-Second World War justice.
Franziska Exeler's research has been supported by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Social Science Research Council (International Dissertation Research Fellowship, with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), the European University Institute (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship) and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (Postdoctoral Fellowship at the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences). More recently, she was a visiting fellow at the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University, and DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia.
She holds a PhD in History from Princeton University, an MA in History from Princeton University, and an MA in History, Political Sciences and Economics from Humboldt University Berlin.
Together with Diana Kim (Georgetown University), she is coordinating the Invisible Histories website, a platform for researchers to present photographs in context and explore hidden narratives. The project is supported by the Joint Center for History of Economics at Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.
Summer Semester 2019
Summer Semester 2018
Summer Semester 2017
Summer Semester 2016
A historian of Modern Europe, Franziska Exeler’s research interests include twentieth-century East European, Soviet and German history; the history of the Second World War and its legacies in Europe and Asia; Holocaust and genocide studies; myth, memory and trauma; borderlands and migration; and international law, transitional justice and social reconstruction.
Her current book project examines the search for truth and guilt in the aftermath of Nazi occupation, and the meaning that law and justice had in that process. It does so through the lens of Belorussia, an East European borderland that was particularly affected by the Second World War. Ghosts of War. The Search for Truth, Guilt and Justice in the Aftermath of Nazi Occupation tells the history of a place and its diverse population whose lives were radically transformed through the violent encounter between the two defining ideologies of twentieth-century European history, Nazism and Communism. Combining micro-historical approaches with comparative, transnational and global perspectives, the book investigates the choices that inhabitants of Belorussia made and were forced to make under German wartime rule, and examines their political, social, personal and legal repercussions. Ghosts of War draws on archival fieldwork conducted in Belarus, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, and the United States, and a wide range of personal and autobiographical material in multiple European languages.
Related research projects focus on how the Soviet prosecution of treason and war crimes fit into the global moment of post-Second World War justice, which saw hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world prosecuted for their (real, alleged or surmised) wartime activities. A new book-length project will explore concepts, perceptions and experiences of borders across Eastern Europe.
For more on her work, please see her interview with the Toynbee Prize Foundation.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:
“What Did You Do during the War? Personal Responses to the Aftermath of Nazi Occupation.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 17, 4 (2016), 805–835.
“The Ambivalent State. Determining Guilt in the Post-World War II Soviet Union.” Slavic Review 75, 3 (2016), 606–629.
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters:
“Nazi Atrocities, International Criminal Law, and Soviet War Crimes Trials. The Soviet Union and the Global Moment of Post-Second World War Justice,” in: The New Histories of International Criminal Law. Retrials, edited by Immi Tallgren and Thomas Skouteris, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019, 189–219.
Articles and Chapters Reviewed by Editorial Boards:
“Gewalt im Militär. Die Rote Armee im Zweiten Weltkrieg” (Violence inside the Military. The Red Army in World War II). Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 3 (2012), 228–246.
“Kogda okonchilas’ voina. Sovetskaia Belorussiia v seredine 1940-e – 1950-e gg.” (When the War Was Over. Soviet Belorussia from the mid-1940s to 1950s), in Belarus’ i Germaniia. Historyia i suchasnasts’. Materyialy mizhnarodnai navukovai kanferentsyi, edited by A.A Kavaleniia and S.Ia. Novikaŭ, Minsk: MGLU, 2012, 85–92.
“L’Expérience de la guerre: violence et violence extrême” (The Experience of War: Violence and Extreme Violence), in Encyclopédie de la seconde guerre mondiale, edited by Jean-François Muracciole and Guillaume Piketty. Paris: Éditions Robert Laffont, 2015, 1379–1385.
Iryna Kashtalian, The Repressive Factors of the USSR’s Internal Policy and Everyday Life of the Belarusian Society, 1944–1953 (Wiesbaden, Harassowitz, 2016), H-Soz-u-Kult and H-Net Reviews, March 2019.
Stephan Lehnstaedt, Occupation in the East. The Daily Lives of German Occupiers in Warsaw and Minsk, 1939-1944, translated by Martin Dean. New York: Berghahn Books, 2016, History: Review of New Books 46, 3 (2018), 75–76.
Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Leslie Page Moch, Broad is My Native Land. Repertoires and Regimes of Migration in Russia’s Twentieth Century. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2014, H-Soz-u-Kult and H-Net Reviews, January 2016.
Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat. A History of Violence on the Eastern Front. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010, H-Soz-u-Kult and H-Net Reviews, December 2010.
Mark Edele, Soviet Veterans of the Second World War. A Popular Movement in an Authoritarian Society, 1941-1991. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008, H-Soz-u-Kult and H-Net Reviews, January 2010.
Ulrike Goeken-Haidl, Der Weg zurück. Die Repatriierung sowjetischer Zwangsarbeiter während und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg [The Return. The Repatriation of Soviet Forced Laborers during and after the Second World War]. Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2006, H-Soz-u-Kult, December 2007.
Academic Blog Posts:
“Soviet Collaboration Trials.” Published on Compromised Identities: Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism, University College London, March 2019.
“Staging Justice. Trial Photography.” Published on Invisible Histories, a project supported by Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, June 2017.