Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Research Areas

The Kolleg currently focusses on the following fields:

The Holocaust and its Aftermath in Central and Eastern Europe

Research on the Holocaust as a turning-point in the history not only of Eastern European Jewry, but Eastern European societies in general, focusses on the dynamics of mass murder and extermination during World War II, on survivor scholars and their role in conceptualizing knowledge about the Holocaust, on the impacts of the Cold War, and on current debates and memory wars concerning the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

Historicizing the „Long Transition“ of 1989

The downfall of communist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 was part of a larger transitional process which affected all areas of society. The social and intellectual roots can be traced back to the 1970s, and many of the impacts and shortcomings of the 1990s can be felt to the present day. Research at the Kolleg focusses on the intellectual history and the interplay with structural and social developments.

in light of recent events

Russia’s War on Ukraine

In cooperation with Central European University, the Kolleg organizes the „Invisible University for Ukraine“.

The IUFU program offers an intensive learning experience, placing questions relevant to Ukrainian students into a transnational comparative perspective. The goal is to prepare students for deeper integration into international academia and broad, ongoing discussion on the role of Ukraine in changing European and global contexts. Further details on the program can be found here.

Also, the IUFU students launched their own website: Visible University which is an interdisciplinary web journal in the humanities and social sciences.

The Kolleg actively supports the activities of „Memorial“ in the field of historical research, education and human rights.


Previous research areas

From 2010 to 2022, research at the Kolleg addressed the following fields:

  • War, Violence and Oppression: with a focus on the two World Wars, regime violence under socialism and the politics of history in this field.
  • Intellectual History: with a particular focus on dissidence and post-socialism since the 1970s. 
  • Challenges of Modernity: with a focus on transformation and social change since the late nineteenth century. 
  • History and the Public Sphere: with a focus on controversy, and the representation of twentieth-century history in the region

For output see publications and especially our four-volume series The Routledge History Handbook of Central and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. London, New York: Routledge 2020 - 2022.

A short summary of our previous research areas can be found here.