UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Udo Grashoff

Dr Udo Grashoff

DAAD Francis Carsten Lecturer in Modern German History



Joined UCL
1st Sep 2014

Research summary

My work mostly covers 20th-century Germany. I specialise in the history of the two German dictatorships. Due to my experience of the German Democratic Republic – with an atmosphere characterised by anxiety, forbiddances, rumours, mindfulness and reading between the lines – I'm particularly interested in taboo subjects.

Often I carry out pioneering research. I deal with suicide in the GDR, informal housing (Schwarzwohnen), and 'betrayal' within the Communist Party of Germany.

I examine resistance, opposition, political violence and individual agency in borderline situations. Instead of a simplifying contrasting juxtaposition of rulers and subjects, I’m interested in grey areas, negotiations, interactions and hybrid forms.

Teaching summary

After receiving my Ph.D., I taught Contemporary History at the University Leipzig from 2008 to 2014.

Since September 2014, I have held the position of the DAAD Francis L. Carsten Lectureship at the History Department of SSEES at University College London, where I teach modern German and Central European History.

Courses taught

SEHI6011 History of Modern Germany

SEHI2010 Dictatorship as Experience

SEHI1004 Frontiers of History

SEHI0005 History of Eastern Europe Since 1856

SEESGH07 Historical Methods and Approaches

SEESGE25 All quiet on the Eastern Front


Universitat Leipzig
Doctorate, Doctor | 2006


I am a historian focusing on 19th and especially 20th century German history.
My most important book was published in 2006. It is the result of my doctoral studies, examining suicide in the East German dictatorship, where one of the world’s highest suicide rates was recorded.
During my time as a Ph.D. student, I authored radio documentaries, historical exhibitions and several books. For example, I edited a collection of farewell letters. The book became a bestseller and was translated into five languages.
From 1993 to 1999, I studied History, German Literature and Comparative Literature at the University Leipzig.
Before then, I studied Biochemistry at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. Here I graduated in 1992.
The fact that I studied both humanities and science makes me open to cross-disciplinary work.