holocaust-studies3 - PhD Students


PhD Students

IonelaIonela-Ana Dascultu Steinberg, Romania


Ionela is a PhD candidate at the University of Haifa and a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Study. Ionela`s numerous academic scholarships include a Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as a Research Fellowship from the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), and a Research Scholarship from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also an intern with the Ghetto Fighters` House Museum Archive and Yad Vashem. Her research focuses on life in the Jewish orphanages established in Transnistria during the Second World War.


Prof. Stefan Ihrig

Dr. Joanna Beata Michlic


Jewish Children in Orphanages in Transnistria (1942-1944). History and Memory


Through her research, Ionela intends to pinpoint the number of Jewish orphanages that were established in Transnistria, as well as their conditions and the attitudes of the Romanian authorities and local Jewish Committees towards these institutions. Her research will also examine what daily life was like inside the orphanages, utilizing the perspective of both children and adults who inhabited or frequented these facilities. In addition, Ionela aims to analyse the children`s response to survival in the ghetto, as well as role reversal or role sharing within families.

Ionela`s study incorporates a wide range of wartime and post-war documentation, all of which she obtained through her extensive research in archives spread across Israel, Romania, and the United States.


Michael Gans

Michael Gans, the United States


Michael Gans is Director of Cultural Competence for a Holocaust Survivor Program, a RCSWI, and PhD candidate researching abuse, homophobia, mass-genocide and the transference of transgenerational trauma. He has been invited to speak at Yad Vashem, several international universities and is a self-taught filmmaker whose film, Jew Street, won two major awards.  He is an adjunct lecturer and co-creator of the I-witness Holocaust Field School in which university students explore ways mass-genocide is memorialized in Europe. Through clinical social work, Michael seeks to help clients grow and re-story their personal, familial and national narratives rooted in their traumatic memory of abuse, homophobia, slavery, forced displacement, or genocide.
Dr. Ari Kochavi, Chairman
Dr. Tsafrir Goldberg
A rendezvous of shadows: Grandchildren of Holocaust victims, perpetrators, bystanders and heroes meet in the former Warsaw Ghetto
Holocaust memory—and the long shadow it casts, still traumatizes the children and grandchildren of Holocaust victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and heroes—and may even “haunt” their DNA.  A rendezvous of shadows uses questionnaires, personal interviews and two weeks of field observation in Poland to explore how the transmission of traumatic memory has structured individual and communal consciousness, and may then have served as the scaffolding on which the perceptions and identity, and the personal, familial and national narratives of a cohort of third-generation Holocaust survivors are constructed.  As heirs of a genocidal past, when these young Germans, Israelis, Poles and Ukrainians encounter each other during a two-week Summer Educational Program in the galleries of POLIN; a recently opened Jewish museum, built on the ruins of the former Warsaw Ghetto, how and in which way are their perceptions, identity, narratives and intergroup relations impacted?
LukasLukas Meissel, Austria
Lukas Meissel is a PhD candidate in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University, his doctoral project analyses photographs taken by SS men at concentration camps. He holds a Master’s degree in contemporary history from the University of Vienna, his final thesis was awarded the Herbert-Steiner-Anerkennungspreis 2015 by the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance. Prior to his doctoral studies he worked as a historian in the archives of the Jewish community of Vienna, alongside serving as a board member and deputy chairperson for GEDENKDIENST, a Vienna-based NGO dealing with Austrian contemporary history. He had also worked on projects on behalf of Yad Vashem in Vienna and as a volunteer in the Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem. Since 2008 he had guided numerous study trips to memorial sites in Austria, Poland, Italy and Lithuania. His research interests focus on visual history, perpetrator studies, antisemitism, and Holocaust Education.
Prof. Amos Morris-Reich
Dr. Ofer Ashkenazi
SS-Photography in Nazi Concentration Camps. Genres and Meanings of Erkennungsdienst-Photographs
The PhD-project focuses on photographic practices in concentration camps, specifically photographs taken by SS-men of Erkennungsdienste (identification departments). These departments were responsible for the production of photographs for the camp administrations, higher SS-institutions and for SS-members. The images produced there include portraits of deportees, photos of prisoners conducting forced labor, construction sites and buildings in the camps, corpses of murdered inmates, events such as ceremonies or visits by delegations, as well as private photographs of SS-personnel. The aim of this project is to analyze the act of photographing in concentration camps and how the pictures taken there were used in their historical and cultural context.


EugeniaphdEugenia Mihalcea, Romania


Eugenia Mihalcea is a PhD student at the University of Haifa, General History Department, researching how survivors of the Holocaust in Transnistria who lived in two different societies after the war (the Socialist Republic of Romania and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova) constructed their memories during the communist/soviet regime. Eugenia holds an MA diploma from the University of Bucharest, and wrote her final MA thesis about Children survivors of the Holocaust in Transnistria as a Visiting Research Fellow at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eugenia is also a fresh graduate of the Weiss-Livnat International MA Program in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa. Eugeniastarted her research about the Holocaust in Transnistria a few years ago at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania as an intern, working mainly on testimonies. Eugenia continued this project in Israel at Yad Vashem where she had an internship. Prior to this Eugenia worked as a journalist for the main national newspapers in Bucharest, Romania.


Prof. Stefan Ihrig


Jewish Memories of the Holocaust in Transnistria: One Experience, Two Narratives


The aim of the project is to examine testimonies delivered by two groups: the Jews from Romania and the Jews from Moldova – who experienced the Holocaust in the same place, Transnistria, but lived in different socio-political-cultural settings after the war.

During the Holocaust, the Romanian authorities, the allies of Nazi Germany, deported the Jews from Bessarabia and Bukovina, two regions of Greater Romania, to Transnistria. Between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews died there. After the end of the Second World War, survivors lived in two communist countries – the Popular/Socialist Republic of Romania (nowadays Romania) and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova (former Bessarabia/nowadays Republic of Moldova) – that developed differently marked narratives about the Holocaust in Transnistria. The aim of the project is to see if and how survivors adjusted their personal memories to a culturally embedded context of national histories.

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