Fields of Study: Russia and Eurasia
Advisor: Stephen Kotkin
Franziska's dissertation, entitled "Reckoning with Occupation. Soviet Power, Local Communities, and the Ghosts of Wartime Behavior in Post-1944 Belorussia", investigates the profound social, political, and personal transformation processes that World War II enacted in the Soviet Union. It links three research fields: the German occupation of the Soviet Union, the remaking of the postwar Soviet system, and the formation of East European societies after the Holocaust - using as their nexus the Soviet European borderland of Belorussia, a republic that first doubled its territory after the Soviet annexation of Eastern Poland in 1939 and that was then occupied by the Germans from 1941-44.
Drawing on a wide range of archive sources collected in Belarus, Russia, Israel, Poland, Germany and the US as well as memoirs and oral history interviews, the dissertation analyzes postwar 'reckoning processes', that is to say the various ways in which both Soviet officials and individual residents of Belorussia investigated, evaluated, and addressed the issue of someone else's wartime behavior. In doing so, it sheds light on how such reckoning processes facilitated the transformation of two diverse interwar regions: one Polish-ruled and capitalist, the other Soviet-ruled and socialist, into one amalgamated postwar Soviet entity. As an analysis of the impact of extreme violence on societies, it also makes visible how war and occupation affected the ways in which individuals and social communities sought to reconstitute themselves after the war.
Franziska completed general exam fields in: Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, Modern Europe, and Subaltern Studies and Post-Colonial Theory. She received an M.A. in History, Political Science, and Economics from Humboldt University Berlin in 2007.