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Anika Walke is the Georgie W. Lewis Career Development Professor at Washington University in St. Louis (USA). As Associate Professor of History with affiliations in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Global Studies, Anika’s research and teaching interests include World War II and Nazi genocide, migration, nationality policies, and oral history in the (former) Soviet Union and Europe. She is a member of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative and currently serves as Co-PI of “The Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events,” an NEH-funded endeavor to develop a Historical GIS of Nazi-era ghettos in Eastern Europe.
Research project at the Kolleg
In Belarus, the legacy of World War II is literally and figuratively part of the landscape, in the form of marked and unmarked mass graves of Jews or others, or of large meadows that were once villages. What does it mean to live in and with this space of destruction, in a landscape infused with sites testifying to war and genocide? How do people relate to the visible and invisible traces of violence? I am interested in these questions not for their own sake, but because exploring the present state of such sites and how they are treated tells us about how the past, here: of violence, is viewed and interpreted. Understanding which sites are marked and in which way, whether they are memorialized or forgotten, and how they are represented, offers a new lens on the culture of memory in Belarus. The work also helps us better understand the long-term effects of World War II and Nazi genocide on individuals and communities, in Belarus and beyond.
Tentatively titled “Bones, Ashes, and Dirt: The Long Aftermath of the Nazi Genocide in Belarus,” my book project utilizes and expands on three intersecting trends in Holocaust research: analytical and methodological frameworks of spatial history and microhistory as well as a newer trend in memory studies to turn to the absences created by violence to analyze memorial culture. This triangulation allows me to respond to Michael Pollack’s call to understand Europe’s “contaminated landscapes.” Belarus is an especially cogent site for such an inquiry, as the country was severely impacted by a succession of conflicts including the First World War, the Russian Civil War, World War II and German occupation. Belarusian territory also shows the traces of Stalinist violence before and after World War II; the often overlapping sites of violence and burial thus call for considering a long arch of experiences of loss resulting from systematic violence.
Main areas of research
Positions and memberships
Anika Walke, Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015; Paperback 2018)
Anika Walke, Jüdische Partisaninnen: Der verschwiegene Widerstand in der Sowjetunion (Berlin: Dietz, 2007)
Anika Walke, Jan Musekamp, Nicole Svobodny, eds, Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age: Refugees, Travelers, and Traffickers in Europe and Eurasia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017)
Anika Walke, ‘Testimony in Place: Witnessing the Holocaust in Belarus,’ East European Jewish Affairs 51, no. 3 (2021): in press.
Anika Walke, ‘A People’s Biography: Ada El’evna Raichonak, Germanavichy,’ Autobiografia: Literatura/ Kultura/ Media 14, no. 1 (2020): 123-144.
Anika Walke, ‘Historische Orte als Chiffre: Protestbewegung und Erinnerungskultur in Belarus,‘ Osteuropa 70, no. 10-11 (2020): 385-398.
Anne Kelly Knowles, Justus Hillebrand, with Paul B. Jaskot and Anika Walke, ‘Integrative, Interdisciplinary Database Design for the Spatial Humanities: The Case of the Holocaust Ghettos Project,’ International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 14, no. 1-2(2020): 64-80.
Anika Walke, ‘”To Speak for Those Who Cannot”: Masha Rol’nikaite on Anti-Jewish and Sexual Violence during the German Occupation of Soviet Territories,’ Jewish History 33, no. 1-2 (2020): 215-244.
Anika Walke, ‘Split Memory: The Geography of Holocaust Memory and Amnesia in Belarus,‘ Slavic Review 77, no.1 (2018): 174-197.
Review of Zina Gimpelevich, The Portrayal of Jews in Modern Bielarusian Literature (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018), in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 39, no. 2 (2021): 290-292.
Review of Irina Gerasimova, Marsh zhizni. Kak spasali dolginovskikh evreev (Moscow: AST, 2016), in East European Jewish Affairs 49, no. 3 (2019): 264-265.
Featured Review of Nikolay Koposov, Memory Laws, Memory Wars: The Politics of the Past in Europe and Russia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), in Slavic Review 78, no. 2 (2019): 526-529.
Review of Selma Leydesdorff, Sasha Pechersky: Holocaust Hero, Sobibor Resistance Leader, and Hostage of History (New York: Routledge, 2017) in American Historical Review 124, no. 3 (2019): 1171-1172.
Review of Leonid Rein, The Kings and the Pawns: Collaboration in Byelorussia during World War II (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011) Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 4, no. 2 (2018): 142-146.