Anika Walke

Anika Walke

Associate Professor of History; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and International and Area Studies
PhD, University of California

contact info:

office hours:

  • Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm, and by appointment

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mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1062
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

​Anika Walke’s current research looks at the long aftermath of the Nazi genocide in Belarus. In particular, she is interested in how people remember and live with the effects and repercussions of systematic violence. She has recently taught courses on the Holocaust and the history of the Soviet Union. 

Walke's book, Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia, analyzes how the first generation of Soviet Jews experienced the Nazi genocide and how they remember it in a context of social change. Based on oral histories, video testimonies, and memoirs produced in the former Soviet Union, she shows that the young Soviet Jews’ struggle for survival, and its memory, was shaped by interethnic relationships within the occupied society, German annihilation policy, and Soviet efforts to construct a patriotic unity of the Soviet population.

Walke elaborates this point by showing the significance of individual and collective efforts and reproductive labor for the struggle for survival, in hiding places and partisan formations, and how these efforts were subsequently erased in the construction of the Soviet war portrayal.

The work is part of a growing attention to the Nazi genocide in the occupied Soviet territories and the social dynamics associated with war and genocide. Foregrounding questions of identity and memory, the book contributes to understanding the problems and strategies of minority and displaced groups to attain social inclusion.

An ongoing research project looks at the long aftermath of the Nazi genocide in Belarus.  In particular, Walke is interested in how people remember and live with the effects and repercussions of systematic violence. She tries to account for the shared suffering of Jews and non-Jews during the German occupation, and for a mass murder that, in part, relied on local participation. She has been working in local archives, interviewed survivors and current residents, and explored local sites of persecution to understand, how communities, which in some cases lost more than half of their population, rebuilt life after genocide and remember the dead, or why some victims are intensely forgotten.

Simultaneously and together with other scholars, Walke explores opportunities to use digital technology to further humanistic scholarship. Initiated by the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative, the Holocaust Ghettos Project seeks to develop a place-based model of the Holocaust, which will help bridge the divide between studies focused on either victims or perpetrators by locating them together in places of ghettoization. Currently, the group is developing a Historical GIS database and visualization of Nazi ghettos that will enable further analytical work. For more information on the Collaborative, please see

Selected Publications


The Fall of the Berln Wall and the Political Movement Overlooked by 30th Anniversary Celebrations, Washington University in St. Louis Center for Humanities 

Follow the blog postings of the FOCUS (aka Ampersand) Program “The History, Memory, and Representation of the Holocaust." There, you are able to learn about our study trip through Germany, Poland, and Lithuania.


Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Jüdische Partisaninnen. Der verschwiegene Widerstand in der Sowjetunion (Berlin: Dietz, 2007)

Edited Volume

Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age: Refugees, Travelers, and Traffickers in Europe and Eurasia. Ed. by Anika Walke, Jan Musekamp, and Nicole Svobodny (Indiana University Press, 2017)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

"'To Speak for Those Who Cannot': Masha Rol’nikaite on Anti-Jewish and Sexual Violence during the German Occupation of Soviet Territories.” Jewish History 32 (November 2018): in press.

“Split Memory: The Geography of Holocaust Memory and Amnesia in Belarus.” Slavic Review 77, no.1 (2018): 174-197.

“Jewish Youth in the Minsk Ghetto: How Age and Gender Mattered,” Kritika–Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 15, no. 3 (2014): 1-28.

“Memories of an Unfulfilled Promise: Internationalism and Patriotism in Post-Soviet Oral Histories of Jewish Survivors of the Nazi genocide,” Oral History Review 40, no 2 (2013): 271-98.

“Pamiat’, Gender, i Molchanie: Ustnaia Istoria v (Post-) Sovetskoi Rossii i Prizrachnaia Gran’ mezhdu Privatnym i Publichnym” (in Russian, Engl.: “Memory, Gender, Silence: Oral history in (Post-) Soviet Russia and the Blurry Line Between the Public and the Private”). Laboratorium: Zhurnal Sotsialnykh Issledovanii (St. Petersburg, Russia) 1 (2011): 72-95.

“Remembering and Recuperation: Memory Work in the Post-Soviet Context.” Zeitgeschichte (Vienna, Austria) 36.2 (2009): 67-87.

Recent Book Chapters

“’There was no work, we worked only for the Germans’: Ghettos and ghetto labor in the German-occupied Soviet territories.” The Ghetto in Global History, 1500 to the Present Ed. Wendy Z. Goldman and Joe William Trotter, Jr. London: Routledge, 2017, 93-109.

“Introduction” to Michael Kutz, If, By Miracle (The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs) (Toronto: Azrieli Foundation, 2013).

„Wir haben über dieses Thema nie gesprochen.’ Jüdischer Überlebenskampf und sowjetische Kriegserinnerung.“ Umdeuten, verschweigen, erinnern: Die späte Aufarbeitung des Holocaust in Osteuropa. Eds. Micha Brumlik and Karol Sauerland. Frankfurt/M: Campus, 2010, 25-46.

“’It wasn’t that bad in the ghetto, was it?’ – Living On in the USSR after the Nazi Genocide.” Survivors of Nazi Persecution in Europe after the Second World War: Landscapes after Battle Vol. I. Eds. Suzanne Bardgett, David Cesarani, Jessica Reinisch, and  J.D. Steinert. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2010, 218-36.

In the Media

Eine Frage des Framings,, die tageszeitung, Berlin (Germany), 4 July 2019

Scholars Push Back on Holocaust Museum’s Rejection of Historical Analogy, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 July 2019

An Open Letter to the Director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1 July 2019

WashU Expert: Defining ‘concentration camps’, Washington University in St. Louis --the source, 28 June 2019

New Books Network, interview about Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia, May 2018

Impact in Profile. USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. October 2017

 “Z’vestki pra belorusoŭ-saŭdzel’nikaŭ galakostu ŭ arkhivakh KDB. A iany zakrytyia” – Aŭtarka knigi pra genatsyd u Belarusi (Interview on state of Holocaust memory and scholarship, in Russian/ Belarusian). Radio Svoboda (Belarus), July 5, 2016.

Interview with Prof. Jay Winter (Yale University) for Hold That Thought: Explore a World of Ideas. Podcast Series of Arts & Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, January 27, 2015.

“When everywhere is a grave: remembering WWII casualties in Belarus.” Oxford University Press Blog, Sep 20, 2015.

“Nikto ne znal o moem sushchestvovanii: Molodye sovetskie evrei v istorii i pamiatii natsistskogo genotsida (Nobody knew about my existence: Young Soviet Jews in the History and Memory of the Nazi Genocide),” lecture for Evropeiskoe kafe: Otkrytie lektsii i diskussii (Series European Café: Lectures and Discussions), Brest (Belarus), Kryly Halopa Theater, May 18, 2015.

Prizes and Awards

2015       Heldt Prize of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for Best Article in Slavic and East European Women’s Studies for “Jewish Youth in the Minsk Ghetto: How Age and Gender Mattered,” Kritika–Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 15, no. 3 (2014): 535-62.

2004       The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Junior Research Award for the publication project “Life Stories of Soviet Jewish Women Surviving the Holocaust” (in German), resulting in Jüdische Partisaninnen. Der verschwiegene Widerstand in der Sowjetunion. Berlin: Dietz, 2007.

Fellowships and Grants

2018-21    Joint recipient of NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant for “The Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events,” PI: Anne Knowles (University of Maine), Co-PIs Paul Jaskot (Duke University) and Anika Walke. Read more about the grant in The Ampersand

2018    Faculty Fellowship, Center for Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis. Spring.

2017    NEH Summer Institute “Space, Place, and the Humanities,” Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

2015    with Erin McGlothlin: Teaching Grant of the Holocaust Educational Foundation to support the FOCUS First-year program “The History, Memory, and Representation of the Holocaust.”

2011-14     Postdoctoral Fellowship, International and Area Studies, Washington University in St. Louis.

2013     Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, German Historical Institute Moscow, two months.

2012     Stipend for Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar “Holocaust Geographies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching about the Holocaust.” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. January.

2011     Thesis Fellowship of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, Paris (France). AY 2010/11. Declined, re-awarded for summer 2011.

2010-11 Chancellor’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz. AY 2010/11.

2010      Research Fellowship of the Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, seven months.

Recent Courses

The Holocaust: A European Experience, part of the Ampersand program “The History, Memory, and Representation of the Holocaust”

The Holocaust: History and Memory of the Nazi genocide

War, Genocide, and Gender in Modern Europe

Gender, Sexuality, and Communism in 20th Century Europe

Socialist and Secular? A Social History of the Soviet Union

Modern European History: Migrations, Nation States, Identities

Migration and Modernity: Human Mobility, Identity, and State Formation in Russia and the (former) USSR

Migration and the Nazi Genocide



From our podcast:

Hold That Thought Podcast

Violence and Memory

Historians Anika Walke and Jay Winter discuss the process of seeking meaning in history as well as the personal motivations behind their work.

Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia

Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia

The Nazi regime and local collaborators killed 800,000 Belorussian Jews, many of them parents or relatives of young Jews who survived the war. Thousands of young girls and boys were thus orphaned and struggled for survival on their own. This book is the first systematic account of young Soviet Jews' lives under conditions of Nazi occupation and genocide. These orphans' experiences and memories are rooted in the 1930s, when Soviet policies promoted and sometimes actually created interethnic solidarity and social equality. This experience of interethnic solidarity provided a powerful framework for the ways in which young Jews survived and, several decades after the war, represented their experience of violence and displacement. Through oral histories with several survivors, video testimonies, and memoirs, Anika Walke reveals the crucial roles of age and gender in the ways young Jews survived and remembered the Nazi genocide, and shows how shared experiences of trauma facilitated community building within and beyond national groups. Pioneers and Partisans uncovers the repeated transformations of identity that Soviet Jewish children and adolescents experienced, from Soviet citizens in the prewar years, to a target of genocidal violence during the war, to a barely accepted national minority in the postwar Soviet Union. Oxford University Press, 2015