Dr Anna Koch
- Joined UCL
- 1st Sep 2021
I am a historian of Twentieth Century German, Italian and Jewish history. My research combines transnational and comparative approaches in order to enhance our understanding of displacement, exile and people’s emotional attachment to their home.
My book manuscript, titled Home after Fascism: Italian and German Jews after the Holocaust (under contract with Indiana University Press), relies on sources in four languages from over twenty archives in order to provide a comparative study of European Jews after 1945. This work brings to light the complex, fragile and often fraught relationships surviving Jews rebuilt with the countries that had ostracized them. Highlighting the fractured and fluid nature of national belonging, my work shows that returning Jews’ sense of home was tightly intertwined with the distinct East German, West German and Italian national discourses about the most recent past. Examining postwar experiences on both sides of the Iron Curtain, this work breaks with scholarship that tends to look at either Eastern or Western Europe’s postwar histories. The book is scheduled to be published in 2022.
My second book project explores the diverse relationship of communists and socialists of Jewish origin to their Jewishness and analyses their understanding of Nazism and antisemitism. This research transcends national borders as it explores Jews’ experiences in their various places of exile, examines the establishment of transnational networks and analyses cross-border discussions about Germany’s future. I am also co-editing a volume on Holocaust Memory that employs a transnational lens to reveal the permeability of the “Iron Curtain” and to re-evaluate the commonalities, differences and entanglements between Eastern and Western memory of the Holocaust.
I currently teach the following courses:
SEES0052: Historical Methods and Approaches
HIST0490: History of Modern Germany 1815-1990
SEESGH08: Metropolis: History of Berlin, 1871–1990
I completed my PhD in History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in May 2015. Before joining University College London, I taught European and Jewish history at the University of Southampton and at the University of Leeds. I have held fellowships at the Centre for Jewish History in New York City and the German Historical Institute in Rome, and in 2017/18 I was a postdoctoral research fellow with the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah. My research has been funded by the British Academy, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, and the Social Science Research Council. Since 2021, I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.