New Research on the Transnational Mobility of Non-German Collaborators and Perpetrators after 1945

New Research on the Transnational Mobility of Non-German Collaborators and Perpetrators after 1945: Pathways, Policies, Memory

Claire Aubin and Nicholas Courtman
United Kingdom
Findet statt
In Präsenz
Vom - Bis
22.06.2024 -
Nicholas Courtman, Department for Languages, Literatures and Cultures, King’s College London

Abstracts are sought for papers relating to new research on the transnational mobility of non-German Nazi collaborators and perpetrators after 1945 for a closed two-day workshop to take place a King's College London in the second half of June 2024. Funds are available to cover travel and accommodation costs. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of 'Holocaust Studies’. The deadline for abstracts is midnight GMT, the 20th of December.

New Research on the Transnational Mobility of Non-German Collaborators and Perpetrators after 1945: Pathways, Policies, Memory

Over the last decade, considerable progress has been made in our understanding of how, when, and why non-Germans worked for, under, or with Germany during the Second World War. At the same time, recent geopolitical developments such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the use of history to justify that invasion have transformed the history of collaboration with the Nazi regime into a field of contestation in contemporary geopolitics. Events such as the celebration of a Ukrainian Waffen-SS member in the Canadian Houses of Parliament demonstrate that the history of wartime collaboration with the Nazi regime and its aftereffects are not restricted to the collaborators’ countries of origin.

Certain aspects of the postwar transnational mobility of Nazi perpetrators have already received considerable scholarly attention. The routes taken by German and Austrian Nazis to escape Europe and travel to South America, often with the aid of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, have for example already been the subject of considerable research. The same can be said for the mechanisms through which Eastern European collaborators with the Nazi regime, especially from the Baltic states, eventually were granted the ability to migrate to the USA and Canada in the 1950s as part of the loosening of the restrictions on migration for collaborators.

Yet many aspects of the postwar transnational mobility of non-German collaborators and perpetrators remain under-researched. We know relatively little, for example, of the pathways through which foreigners who had fought in the Waffen-SS tried to reach Germany after 1945, or the means they used to try and evade identification by the Allied Forces and possible extradition to their countries of origin. Similarly, there has not been much research into how such individuals dealt with the fact of their collaboration while navigating the migration bureaucracies of their new countries of residence, be it at the moment of entry, establishing permanent residence, or applying for naturalisation. There are also relatively few comprehensive or international studies of physical memorials to perpetrators, as compared to similar research on monuments to e.g. Confederate soldiers in the US.

We are planning a two-day closed workshop that will take place at King’s College London in June 2024 that will examine postwar transnational mobility of non-German National Socialist perpetrators and collaborators. We welcome papers on the following topics in particular:

- Transnational pathways taken by foreign Nazi collaborators and perpetrators to leave their countries of origin after 1945: What migratory routes were available after the war, both regular and irregular?

- How did the receiving countries screen or control migrants’ past relations with the Nazi regime? In what parts of the migration process – application for entry, arrival in the country, application for permanent residence / application for naturalisation – did the countries demand information about applicants’ relationship with the German occupation or Nazi regime? What kind of proof did they accept for individuals’ claims?

- Postwar diaspora communities and the place of Nazi collaborators and perpetrators within them, in particular in West Germany, Western Europe, and in North America (e.g. Ukrainian diasporas in Canada and the USA, Dutch/Belgian collaborators or Croatian/Ukrainian/Bosnian diasporas in West Germany)

- Reasons and consequences of changes in state policies towards Nazi collaborators and perpetrators after the 1950s/1960s, and the concrete workings of those policies (e.g. papers on the methods of the OSI in identifying former Nazi perpetrators who had migrated to the US in the 1950s; co-operation between the OSI and foreign governments in deportation and repatriation of identified collaborators and perpetrators)

- The role of memory in transnational perpetrator and collaborator mobility (e.g. papers examining physical or virtual memorials to collaborators; Holocaust survivor/ descendent groups’ reception of local perpetrators and collaborators)

- Contemporary political narratives surrounding immigrant collaborators and perpetrators (e.g. weaponisation of ‘Hitler vs. Stalin’ rhetoric to defend perpetration in both traditional and social media; public conceptions of post-Holocaust justice for perpetrators and collaborators)

We welcome proposals from scholars of advanced PhD level and above. Abstracts should be maximum 500 words in length on relevant topics and the deadline for submission is midnight GMT on the 20th of December, 2023. Funds are available to cover total transport cost within the UK and from Europe, and to cover partial travel costs from other parts of the world, and to cover accommodation costs for the duration of the workshop in London. We will inform about the outcome by mid-January.

We intend to pre-circulate papers before the workshop. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History.

Please send your abstracts to and Please feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions.