Christina Winkler

PhD student

Supervisors: Dr. Olaf Jensen; Dr. Zoe Knox

Contact Details


Research Project

My part-time PhD research began in January 2010 and receives a part-time, fees-only studentship from the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and a three-year stipend from the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk. Currently, I am a junior fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute (VWI). The working title of my thesis is ‘The Russian view on the Shoah: Official remembrance versus individual memory of the Holocaust in contemporary Russia.’

As the legal successor to the Soviet Union, public remembrance of the war and Nazi Germany’s Soviet victims lies with the Russian Federation. The Holocaust is strangely absent in the Russian collective memory of WWII. Russian state institutions and historiography have more or less disregarded the subject in recent years. Only very recently, the Russian Ministry of Education announced that Holocaust education will be included in the national curriculum.

The collective amnesia is even more notable when considering the fact that about one third of the victims of the Shoah were Soviet Jews, particularly when compared to the central role of remembrance of the Great Fatherland War in Russian collective memory. If the Holocaust is excluded from public remembrance of the Great Fatherland War, how do people living near former sites of mass atrocities recollect and interpret these events and share them within the family or other social networks? And how do these memories correspond with public forms of remembrance? These questions on which I am focusing my research have yet to be answered as there have been few oral history studies regarding Holocaust remembrance in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is assumed that personal memories of people who have witnessed the Holocaust in the occupied territories and consequently narratives passed down by these witnesses through oral tradition differ from those forms of commemoration that currently exist in the public sphere.

The project has an interdisciplinary approach and encompasses historical and memory studies. The thesis consists of two major parts, one that analyses official remembrance of the Shoah and a second part exploring individual memories and forms of oral tradition. The latter will focus on the city of Rostov-on-Don and will be supplemented by archive research regarding the largest mass atrocity on Russian territory committed there by Sonderkommando 10a in August 1942.


I am a graduate (MA, 1999 and 2009) of Freie Universitaet of Berlin and Touro College, Berlin, Germany, where I studied Slavonic and Economic Studies (1992-1999) as well as Holocaust Studies (2007-2009). After ten years of working in different German-Russian governmental and academic institutions such as the ‘Petersburg Dialogue’ founded by Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder, I decided to focus on research again.  My main research interests include the history of WWII and particularly the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union as well as how these events are remembered collectively today. My interest in these topics originated in Volgograd, former Stalingrad, where I worked as a lecturer at Volgograd State University from 2000-2001. After graduating from Touro College in 2009, I decided to focus entirely on my research. Before starting my PhD project in 2010, I covered the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly for ‘Eye on the UN’. The programme’s aim is to monitor the work of the UN in terms of anti-Semitism within the UN, as well as the UN’s efficiency in combating racism and xenophobia.


‘Collective and Individual Memory of the Holocaust in Contemporary Russia’. Sefer‘ XIX International Conference on Jewish Studies, Moscow, 29 January- 01 February 2012


C. Winkler, Pamyat o Kholokoste v sovremennoy Rossii, Donskoy Vremennik, Rostov (2013), pp. 236-241. 
C. Winkler, Pamyat o Kholokoste v sovremennoy Rossii, Kholokost na territorii SSSR. Materialy XIX. Mezhdunarodnoy ezhegodnoy konferentsi po iudaike, Akademicheskaya seria, Moskva (2012), pp. 131-144.
C. Winkler, Kholokost na sovetskoy territorii - zabytaya istoriya? Individual'nye i ofitsial'nye vospominaniya o Kholokoste v Rostove-na-Donu, Rossiyskaya biblioteka Kholokosta, Materialy 7-y Mezhdunarodnoy konferentsii 'Uroki Kholokosta i sovremennaya Rossiya', Moskva 2013, p. 97-110.

C. Winkler: The Holocaust in Rostov-on-Don in testimonies of eyewitnesses, Kholokost na territorii SSSR. Materialy XIX. Mezhdunarodnoy ezhegodnoy konferentsii po iudaike, 03.-05.02.2013. [forthcoming]

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The Stanley Burton Centre
School of History
University of Leicester
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