2010–11 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow Dr. Michael Meng
Michael Meng is Assistant Professor of History at Clemson University in South Carolina. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Dr. Meng is conducting research for his project, “Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Sites in Postwar Germany and Poland,” which will be coming out with Harvard University Press in November 2011.
Dr. Meng is the author of the forthcoming book Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Sites in Postwar Germany and Poland as well as, “Did the Poles Collaborate or Resist the Nazis? Problems with Narrating the Holocaust in Poland,” in editors Jonathan Petropoulous, Lynn Rapaport, and John K. Roth’s Memory, History, and Responsibility: Reassessments of the Holocaust, Implications for the Future (2010); “The Politics of Antifascism: Historic Preservation, Jewish Sites, and the Rebuilding of Potsdam’s Altstadt,” in editors Gavriel Rosenfeld and Paul Jaskot’s Beyond Berlin: German Cities Confront the Nazi Past (2008); “East Germany’s Jewish Question: The Return and Preservation of Jewish Sites in East Berlin and Potsdam, 1945-1989” in Central European History 38, no. 4 (2005); and “After the Holocaust: The History of Jewish Life in West Germany” in Contemporary European History 14, no. 3 (2005). He is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Research Grant, an East European Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, Dissertation Research Grants from the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Free University of Berlin, a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, the Peter Hayes Research Fellowship from the Holocaust Education Foundation, and a Production and Presentation Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In addition, Dr. Meng is also the recipient of distinguished awards, including the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize of the Friends of the German Historical Institute and the Linda Dykstra Distinguished Dissertation in the Humanities and Fine Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has given numerous presentations on his research in Germany, Poland, Israel, and the United States. In 2010, he co-organized with Erica Lehrer of Concordia University a summer research workshop on The Politics of Jewish Spaces: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Preservation, Memory, and Renewal in Post-Holocaust Poland at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is fluent in German and Polish.
During the first part of his tenure at the Center, Dr. Meng worked on final research for his first book, Shattered Spaces, which examines the fate of Jewish communal sites after the Holocaust, and specifically how Germans, Poles, and Jews have encountered them from 1945 to the present. Looking at Berlin, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Essen, and Potsdam, he examines how different local, national, and political contexts shaped the postwar history of Jewish sites (mostly sacred spaces, including synagogues and Jewish cemeteries). His research offers an integrative comparative and transnational analysis of East Germany, West Germany, and Poland, and engages in questions about urban reconstruction, historic preservation, memory, tourism, nostalgia, and cosmopolitanism. As he near the final stages of this project, Dr. Meng is now beginning to work on his second book, Street Violence: Anti-Jewish Riots and Pogroms in Central Europe, which will explore the history of violence against Jews in German and Polish-speaking Europe from 1881 to 1968 across the multiple contexts of democracies, dictatorships, and empires during periods of peace, war, occupation, economic crisis, stability, and transition. Using micro, comparative, and transnational history, this project will analyze sevens pogroms that erupted at different points in time and space in the cities of Stettin (1881), Lviv (1918 and 1941), Berlin (1923 and 1938), Kielce (1946), and Warsaw (1968). Dr. Meng is utilizing the extensive archival materials at the Museum, particularly files from the Federal Archive in Berlin, the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, the World Jewish Congress, and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.