2011–12 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow Michael McConnell
Michael McConnell is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (USA). He received a master’s degree in history from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (USA). During his Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship, he is conducting research for his dissertation project, “Home to the Reich: The Influence of the Nazi Occupation of Europe on Violence inside Germany, 1943–45.”
Mr. McConnell has presented on his project at various conferences, including the 2010 German Studies Association Conference, the 2010 Conference for the Society of Military Historians, and the 2010 Conference for the Association for the Study of Nationalities. His book reviews were published in the Journal of Contemporary European Studies as well as in Foucault Studies. An article based on his research, “‘The Situation is Once Again Quiet:’ Gestapo Crimes in the Rhineland, Fall 1944,” will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of Central European History.
In 2008 Mr. McConnell was a Dorot Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, where he authored entries in the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, Volume II on Baranów, Borysław, Deblin, Eržvilkas, Kudirkos, Ligumai, Naumiestis, Virbalis, and Zhovka and co-authored entries on Bielsk Podlaski, Chërnyi Ostrov, Konskowola Zolkiew, Kupiŝkis, Lazdijai, and Stryj. He is the recipient of a research grant from the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, as well as the McClure Scholarship for the Study of World Affairs and the J. Wallace and Katie Dean Graduate Fellowship from the University of Tennessee. He is fluent in German.
During his tenure at the Center, Mr. McConnell is researching the forced evacuations executed by the Gestapo in the Rhineland from September to December 1944. His project will show the forced evacuations as a lens through which to view a broader pattern of atrocities committed by the Gestapo against German civilians and foreign laborers as the Nazi regime collapsed in fall 1944 and spring 1945. Information about the experiences of civilians and forced laborers in Germany during the Nazi regime’s collapse is sparse, and the information that historians have used comes from police records. Mr. McConnell will use the Museum’s collections, including the International Tracing Service records, to complete his project. He will also draw from records of the US National Archives, the Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the National Socialist Dokumentationszentrum, among other sources.