"Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Sites in Postwar Germany and Poland"
Michael Meng Michael Meng is Assistant Professor of History at Clemson University in South Carolina. He recently received his Ph.D. in history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he also received an M.A. in history. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Dr. Meng conducted research for his project, “Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Sites in Postwar Germany and Poland,” which will be coming out with Harvard University Press in late 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, and the Peter Hayes Research Fellowship from the Holocaust Education Foundation. 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 his tenure at the Center, Dr. Meng finalized research for his book manuscript. He examined 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 examined how different local, national, and political contexts shaped the postwar history of Jewish sites (mostly sacred spaces, including synagogues and Jewish cemeteries). His research offered 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. Dr. Meng utilized 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 Central Zionist Archives.
Dr. Meng was in residence at the Mandel Center from July 1 to August 30, 2010 and May 16 to August 12, 2011.