Anika Walke

​Assistant Professor of History
PhD, University of California
research interests:
  • Russian/Soviet and European Hiistory
  • Holocaust
  • Migration
  • Memory
  • Oral History

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1062
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
image of book cover

​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, she 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.

Recent Awards and Fellowships

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. 

Postdoctoral Fellowship, International and Area Studies, Washington University, 2011-2014.               

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, German Historical Institute Moscow, 2013.         

 

Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age: Refugees, Travelers, and Traffickers in Europe and Eurasia

Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age: Refugees, Travelers, and Traffickers in Europe and Eurasia

Combining methodological and theoretical approaches to migration and mobility studies with detailed analyses of historical, cultural, or social phenomena, the works collected here provide an interdisciplinary perspective on how migrations and mobility altered identities and affected images of the "other." From walkways to railroads to airports, the history of travel provides a context for considering the people and events that have shaped Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.

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.