Dr. Kim Wünschmann


+49 (0)40 42838-2100


Kim Wünschmann has been Director of the Institute for the History of the German Jews since October 2021. She studied Jewish Studies, political science, and psychology at the Free University of Berlin and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her doctorate with a historical study at Birkbeck College, University of London, which was awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, the Prix “Fondation Auschwitz – Jacques Rozenberg,” and the Herbert Steiner Prize of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the International Conference of Labor and Social History (ITH).

From 2010 to 2015, she researched and taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, first as a research fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center for German-Jewish Literature and Culture, then as a German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Research Fellow of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This was followed by positions as DAAD Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary European History at the Weidenfeld Institute – Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex and, most recently, as a research fellow at the Department of Contemporary History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) and as coordinator of the LMU’s collaboration with the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin.


Kim Wünschmann’s research focuses on German-Jewish history of the twentieth century, contemporary history with an emphasis on the history and impact of National Socialism and the Shoah, the history of law and diplomacy, as well as comics studies. In her study on the treatment of so-called enemy foreign nationals (“enemy aliens”) in the wars of the modern era, she probes the complexity of the phenomenon as a legal subject. She asks how norms developed in international law related to a practice of restrictive measures that was often experienced as injustice by those affected.

As part of a collaborative project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, she has been investigating the connections between antisemitic persecution perpetrated and experienced in rural areas and German-Jewish re-encounters after the Shoah in a methodologically reflective Graphic History. She is also a member of the “Gewalt-Zeiten” research group at the University of Hamburg.

Serving as Director of the IGdJ, Kim Wünschmann has an impact on the general public. Through her involvement in committees as well as in publications and events, she is concerned with imparting knowledge about Jewish life and culture and thus emphasizing the relevance of history for the present and the future. Moreover, she regards university teaching and the promotion of young scholars as an important part of her work. In this connection, she is also interested in international exchange at all qualification levels, especially with Israel, which results in sustainable projects, such as the website “Public History in the International Virtual Classroom”.

Recent publications

All publications

  • (with Stefanie Fischer, illustrations: Liz Clarke), Oberbrechen. A German Village Confronts its Nazi Past. A Graphic History, New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024 (forthcoming).
  • Before Auschwitz. Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps, 1933-1939, Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press, 2015.

    (Hebrew edition: lifne oshṿits: asirim yehudim be-maḥanot ha-rikuz lifne ha-milḥamah, Jerusalem 2019; Portuguese edition: Antes de Auschwitz. Os Judeus nos campos de concentração antes da Segunda Guerra Mundial, Lissabon 2016.)

    Reviewed in: Times Higher Education, 30.5.2015 (Neil Gregor); The New York Review of Books, 9.7.2015 (Richard J. Evans); The Times Literary Supplement, 2.12.2015 (David Motadel); Journal of Interdisciplinary History 46 (2016), Nr. 3 (Jane Caplan); Yad Vashem Studies 44 (2016), Nr. 1 (Guy Miron); H-Soz-Kult, 25.1.2016 (Jens Binner); The British Journal of Criminology 56 (2016), Nr. 4 (Michael Berkowitz); The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies AJS 40 (2016), Nr. 2 (Anna Hájková); Einsicht. Bulletin des Fritz Bauer Instituts 15 (2016) (Elisabeth Gallas); sehepunkte 16 (2016), Nr. 10 (Kurt Schilde); Holocaust and Genocide Studies 31 (2017), Nr. 1 (Jürgen Matthäus); The Journal of Modern History 89 (2017), Nr. 2 (Alan Kramer).
  • (ed. with Christopher Dillon), Living the German Revolution 1918-19: Expectations, Experiences, Responses, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2023.
  • (ed. with Nicolai Hannig/ Anette Schlimm), Deutsche Filmgeschichten: Historische Portraits, Göttingen: Wallstein 2023. 
  • (ed. with Jörg Osterloh), „…der schrankenlosesten Willkür ausgeliefert“: Häftlinge der frühen Konzentrationslager 1933 bis 1936/37 (Wissenschaftliche Reihe des Fritz Bauer Instituts 31), Frankfurt a. M./ New York: Campus 2017.

    Rezensiert in: Historische Zeitschrift 307 (2018) (Karin Orth); Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 66 (2018) Nr. 4 (Andrea Rudorff); Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 3.2.2018; neue politische literatur 64 (2019) Nr. 1 (Michael Löffelsender); Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung in Norddeutschland 19 (2020) (Angelika Königseder); Haus des Erinnerns – für Demokratie und Akzeptanz Mainz [verlinken mit: https://www.haus-des-erinnerns-mainz.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Rezension_Häftlinge-in-frühen-Konzentrationslagern-1.pdf ], Juli 2020 (Cornelia Dold).
  • (ed. with Laura Jockusch/ Andreas Kraft), Revenge, Retribution, Reconciliation: Justice and Emotions between Conflict and Mediation. A Cross-Disciplinary Anthology, Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press 2016.
  • (ed. with Irene Aue-Ben-David/ Ruchama Johnston-Bloom), Dislocating Knowledge: Central-European Jewish Scholars in Exile, in: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 58 (2013) [section], S. 69–140.
  • (ed. with Christiane Heß/ Julia Hörath/ Dominique Schröder), Kontinuitäten und Brüche: Neue Studien zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Berlin: Metropol 2011.
  • (with Christopher Dillon), Historicizing the German Revolution, in: id. (eds), Living the German Revolution 1918–19: Expectations, Experiences, Responses, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 3–30 (peer reviewed).
  • Cohesion and Conflict among Jewish Prisoners in Dachau and Lichtenburg: A Social Study of the Extreme Situation, in: Dan Michman/ Robert Rozett (eds.), Jewish Solidarity: The Ideal and the Reality in the Turmoil of the Shoah, Jerusalem: Yad Vashem Publications 2022, pp. 179–197 (peer reviewed),
  • (with Matthew Stibbe), Internment Practices during the First and Second World Wars: A Comparison, in: Gabriele Anderl/ Linda Erker/ Christoph Reinprecht (eds.), Internment Refugee Camps: The (Enforced) Placement and “Custody” of Refugees in the Past and in the Present, Bielefeld: transcript 2022, pp. 27–46 (peer reviewed and open access).
  • Gezeichnete Erinnerung: Zeitzeugenschaft und Geschichte in Comics und Graphic Novels, in: Matthias Bahr/ Peter Poth/ Mirjam Zadoff (eds.), "Aus der Erinnerung für die Gegenwart leben", Göttingen: Wallstein 2022, pp. 190–207.
  • “Enemy Aliens” and “Indian Hostages”. Civilians in Dutch-German Wartime Diplomacy and International Law during the Second World War, in: German History 39 (2021), No. 2, pp. 263–283 (peer reviewed).
  • (with Andrea Löw), Film and the Reordering of City Space in Nazi Germany: The Demolition of the Munich Main Synagogue, in: Natalia Aleksiun/ Hana Kubátová (eds.), Places, Spaces, and Voids in the Holocaust (European Holocaust Studies 3), Göttingen 2021, pp. 25–54 (peer reviewed).
  • Antisemitic Terror in Prewar Nazi Germany: Jewish Responses to Violent Exclusion and Expulsion, in: Frank Bajohr/ Dieter Pohl (eds.), Right-Wing Politics and the Rise of Antisemitism in Europe 1935–1941 (European Holocaust Studies 1), Göttingen 2019, pp. 113–143 (peer reviewed).
  • The “Austrian Invasion” of Dachau 1938: The Anschluss as a Watershed in the History of the Nazi Concentration Camps [Hebräisch], in: Bishvil Hazikaron 29 (2018), pp. 10–17.
  • Judenexerzieren: The Role of “Sport” for Constructions of Race, Body and Gender in the Concentration Camps, in: Gregor Feindt/ Anke Hilbrenner/ Dittmar Dahlmann (eds.), Sport under Unexpected Circumstances. Violence, Discipline and Leisure in Penal and Internment Camps (Wissenschaftliche Reihe des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz, Beiheft 119), Göttingen 2018, pp. 153–174.
  • Les prisonniers juifs dans les camps de concentration: Les instruments de la terreur et de la politique antisémite d’exclusion dans l’Allemagne nazie, in: Revue d’histoire de la Shoah 209 (2018), pp. 175–201.
  • (with Jörg Osterloh), Gefangen im Terror des Nationalsozialismus: Einführung in die Geschichte der Häftlinge in den frühen Konzentrationslagern 1933 bis 1936/37, in: id. (eds.), „…der schrankenlosesten Willkür ausgeliefert“: Häftlinge der frühen Konzentrationslager 1933 bis 1936/37 (Wissenschaftliche Reihe des Fritz Bauer Instituts 31), Frankfurt a. M./ New York 2017, pp. 9–49.
  • Gewaltsam aus der „Volksgemeinschaft“ ausgeschlossen. Jüdische Häftlinge in den Konzentrationslagern 1933 bis 1936/37, in: Jörg Osterloh/Kim Wünschmann (eds.), „…der schrankenlosesten Willkür ausgeliefert“. Häftlinge der frühen Konzentrationslager 1933 bis 1936/37 (Wissenschaftliche Reihe des Fritz Bauer Instituts 31), Frankfurt a. M./ New York 2017, pp. 197–220.
  • Revenge and Justice in the Concentration Camps: Social Dynamics in the “Jewish Blocks”, in: Laura Jockusch et al. (eds.), Revenge, Retribution, Reconciliation: Justice and Emotions between Conflict and Mediation. A Cross-Disciplinary Anthology, Jerusalem 2016, S. 51–68.
  • (mit Laura Jockusch/ Andreas Kraft), Introduction, in: Laura Jockusch et al. (eds.), Revenge, Retribution, Reconciliation: Justice and Emotions between Conflict and Mediation. A Cross-Disciplinary Anthology, Jerusalem 2016, pp. 12–27.
  • Revolutionary Works and Jewish Identities in Weimar Germany [Hebräisch], in: Chidushim: Studies in the History of German and Central-European Jewry 18 (2016), pp. 185–217 (peer reviewed).
  • Exploring the Universe of Camps and Ghettos: Quantifications and Interpretations of the Nazi Topography of Terror, in: Studies in Contemporary Jewry 28 (2015), pp. 251–263 (peer reviewed).
  • Forgotten Victims? The Early Nazi Camp of Osthofen and its Jewish Prisoners. A Case Study in Local Memorial Culture, in: David Shulman/ Giovanni Galizia (eds.), What is Forgetting?, Jerusalem 2015, pp. 220–228.
  • Jüdische politische Häftlinge im frühen KZ Dachau: Widerstand, Verfolgung und antisemitisches Feindbild, in: Nikolaus Wachsmann/ Sybille Steinbacher (eds.), Die Linke im Visier: Zur Errichtung der Konzentrationslager 1933 (Dachauer Symposium zur Zeitgeschichte 14), Göttingen 2014, pp. 141–167.
  • Männlichkeitskonstruktionen jüdischer Häftlinge in NS-Konzentrationslagern, in: Anette Dietrich/ Ljiljana Heise (eds.), Männlichkeitskonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus: Formen, Funktionen und Wirkungsmacht von Geschlechterkonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus und ihre Reflexion in der pädagogischen Praxis, Frankfurt a. M. 2013, pp. 201–219.
  • The “Scientification” of the Concentration Camp: Early Theories of Terror and their Reception by American Academia, in: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 58 (2013), pp. 111–126 (peer reviewed).
  • (with Irene Aue-Ben-David/ Ruchama Johnston-Bloom), Dislocating Knowledge: Central-European Jewish Scholars in Exile, in: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 58 (2013), pp. 71–74.
  • „Natürlich weiß ich, wer mich ins KZ gebracht hat und warum...“ – Die Inhaftierung von Juden im Konzentrationslager Osthofen 1933/34, in: Andreas Ehresmann u. a. (eds.), Die Erinnerung an die nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. Akteure, Inhalte, Strategien, Berlin 2011, pp. 97–111.
  • (with Dominique Schröder), Einleitende Überlegungen zu Kontinuitäten und Brüchen in der Entwicklungs- und Rezeptionsgeschichte der NS-Konzentrationslager, in: Christine Heß u. a. (eds.), Kontinuitäten und Brüche. Neue Perspektiven auf die Geschichte der NS-Konzentrationslager, Berlin 2011, pp. 9–26.
  • Cementing the Enemy Category: Arrest and Imprisonment of German Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps 1933-8/9, in: Journal of Contemporary History 45 (2010), No. 3, pp. 576–600 (peer reviewed).
  • Die Konzentrationslagererfahrungen deutsch-jüdischer Männer nach dem Novemberpogrom 1938. Geschlechtergeschichtliche Überlegungen zu männlichem Selbstverständnis und Rollenbild, in: Susanne Heim/ Beate Meyer/ Francis R. Nicosia (eds.), „Wer bleibt, opfert seine Jahre, vielleicht sein Leben“. Deutsche Juden 1938–1941 (Hamburger Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Juden 37), Göttingen 2010, pp. 39–58.
  • Gedenken und Informieren: Zur Genese, Konzeption und Rezeption der Wanderausstellung „Was damals Recht war...“ – Soldaten und Zivilisten vor Gerichten der Wehrmacht, in: Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit 8 (2008), No. 3, pp. 120–130 (peer reviewed).
  • Jüdische Häftlinge im KZ Osthofen: Das frühe Konzentrationslager als Terrorinstrument der nationalsozialistischen Judenpolitik, in: Vor 75 Jahren: „Am Anfang stand die Gewalt…“. Dokumentation der Gedenkveranstaltung zur Erinnerung an die Errichtung des Konzentrationslagers Osthofen, ed. by Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Rheinland-Pfalz, Alzey 2008, pp. 18–33.