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.