Lina Nikou

Lina Nikou

Lina Nikou
Contemporary History
Cultural Anthropology

Oral History
German-Jewish History
Public History
Memory Studies
Tourism Studies


Current Projects: 

I am working on the history of oral history as a research practice and mode of representation and connected to this I am analyzing the roles eye witnesses played in the development of local memory cultures.

Curriculum Vitae: 

Lina Nikou is at the Buber Society since October 2017. She studied History, Political Science and Cultural Anthropology as well as Museum Management at Hamburg University, where she also defended her PhD in Modern History. In her thesis she analyses how cities in Western Germany began in the 1960s to invite their former citizens who were persecuted during National Socialism for a one- or two-week-stay. Her thesis will be published with Neofelis. 

As a PhD student she was based at the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg where she had also worked as a student assistant for the Werkstatt der Erinnerung (Workshop of Memory), an oral history archive at the research center. For the archive as well as for her MA and her PhD, she conducted interviews with survivors of National Socialism and their descendants. Thus, her specialization lays in the field of Oral History and Memory Studies as well as German–German-Jewish relations after 1945. She is specifically interested in fields of study which bridge several disciplines and in alternative modes of representation. 

Apart from her academic work she explored local Jewish history in Hamburg through new media with school classes for Geschichtomat, an educational project at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg and was a guide on an historical Jewish cemetery in Hamburg-Altona for the Foundation of the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

Fellowships and Grant

  • 02/2015 – 07/2015 
    Visiting Fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 10/2014 – 09/2015 
    Leo Baeck Fellowship, financed by the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)

  • 07/2014 – 08/2014
    Travel grant from the FAZIT-Foundation for conducting research in Israel

  • 08/2013 – 09/2013
    Harry & Helen Gray Reconciliation Fellowship at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC

  • 11/2010 – 12/2013
    Fellowship from the ZEIT-Foundation Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius


  • 05/2017
    PhD in Modern History from Hamburg University at the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg (Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, FZH)

  • 07/2010
    M.A. from Hamburg University in History (major), Cultural Anthropology, Political Science, Management of Museums



  • Besuche in der alten Heimat: Einladungsprogramme für ehemals Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus in München, Frankfurt am Main und Berlin. Berlin: Neofelis 2020.

  • Zwischen Imagepflege, moralischer Verpflichtung und Erinnerungen. Das Besuchsprogramm für jüdische ehemalige Hamburger Bürgerinnen und Bürger. München/Hamburg: Dölling & Galitz 2011.

Chapters in books

  • „Vollständige Angaben sind unbedingt nötig“. Berlins Einladungen an im Nationalsozialismus verfolgte ehemalige Bürgerinnen und Bürger. In: Stefanie Fischer / Nathanael Riemer / Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Ed.): Juden und Nicht-Juden nach der Shoah. Begegnungen in Deutschland. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2019, pp. 141-155.

  • „Mein Name ist Ausländer“. Alltagserfahrungen und Migrationspolitik in der Stadt. In: Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg (Ed.): 19 Tage Hamburg. Ereignisse und Entwicklungen der Stadtgeschichte seit den fünfziger Jahren. München/Hamburg: Dölling & Galitz 2012, pp. 217–230.

  • „Also, ich war ein normales Kriegskind.“ Mathel Miriam Gottlieb-Drucker. Auf der Suche nach Zugehörigkeit. In: Linde Apel / Klaus David / Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Ed.): Aus Hamburg in alle Welt. Lebensgeschichten jüdischer Verfolgter aus der „Werkstatt der Erinnerung”. Hamburg/München: Dölling & Galitz 2011, pp. 86–99.

  • „Gott wird uns schon helfen.” Jenny Marmorstein. Als Haushaltshilfe nach Großbritannien. In: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt, pp. 100–115.

  • „I just don’t believe in running away.” Anthony und Lara von Hirschfeld. Migration als familiäres Erbe. In: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt, pp. 116–128.

  • „It’s strange that there is a feeling of Heimat, a little bit of it.” Peter Sussmann und Hilde Rotenberg. Gemischte Gefühle und vorsichtige Annähungen. In: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt, pp. 129–144.

  • „Wer geschnappt wurde, der hatte Pech.” Therese Jonas. Die Deportation überlebt. In: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt, pp. 145–160.

  • Einladungen nach Hamburg. Das Besuchsprogramm für jüdische ehemalige Bürgerinnen und Bürger. In: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt, pp. 188–200.


  • „Heimweh nach München“. Städtische Einladungen für Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus als Geschichts- und Imagepolitik in den sechziger Jahren. In: Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg 2012. Nachrichten aus der Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg. Hamburg 2013, pp. 81–94.

  • Together with Janine Schemmer: Auf der Reeperbahn. (Re)Präsentationen von und auf St. Pauli. In: Vokus 22/1 (2013), pp. 29–38.

Blog Posts

Selected Presentations

  • Visits and Counter Visits between German Cities and their Former Citizens in Israel since the 1960s. Talk on facebook live at the event "Visits. Germans Visiting Israel and Israelis Visiting Germany" organized by the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem. May 2020. 

  • Eyewitnesses of the Shoah as Agents of Memory. Vienna - Jerusalem Graduate School "Memories and Media - Memories of Media" in Jerusalem organized by the European Forum at the Hebrew University and the Austrian Academy of Science. September 2019. 

  • The Roles of Eyewitnesses in Local Memory Cultures. Talk at the German-Israeli Research Workshop on "New Trends in Holocaust and Genocide Studies" in Jerusalem organized by the Hebrew University, LMU Munich and the Center for Holocaust Studies in Munich. June 2019. 

  • The Making of History as Dialogue. Reflections on Oral History Interviews with Survivors of the Shoah. Presentation at the Oral History Colloquium at the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem. March 2019.

  • “Oral testimony is never the same twice”. Presentation at the joint interdisciplinary workshop of the Zukunftskolleg Konstanz and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Jerusalem. November 2018.

  • Retold Stories, Untold Memories. Reflections on Interviews with Survivors and Refugees of the Nazi Regime Who were Invited by Their Former Hometowns in Germany. Talk at the Oral History Association Israel in Jerusalem. March 2018.

  • „Vollständige Angaben sind unbedingt nötig”. Berlins Einladungen an im Nationalsozialismus verfolgte ehemalige Bürger. Presentation on the international annual conference of the Centre for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg “Rupture and Rapprochement. Jewish–non-Jewish Relations in Post-Shoah-Germany” in Berlin. November 2015.

  • “The Israelis are Coming!”. Contacts Between German Cities and Their Former Citizens in Israel After the Shoah. Presentation on the conference “Beyond Diplomacy: 50 Years of German Israeli Relations – Personal Encounters and Official Ties” in Cologne. May 2015.

  •  Between Personal Approach and Administrative Processes – Organized Visits for Jewish Former Citizens of Major German Cities, presentation at the international Graduate Student workshop “Visits – Bilateral Relations and Personal Encounters in Israel, Germany and Beyond. International Workshop marking 50 Years of Israeli-German Diplomatic Relations 1965-2015” of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. February 2015.

  • Vergangenheitstouristen. Besuche jüdischer Emigranten auf Einladung des Hamburger Senats. Presentation at the conference “Invented Jewish Traditions. Jüdisches Erbe in Europa zwischen Erinnerung und Inszenierung” at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg. November 2013.

  • Together with Romain Faure: The Impact of Reconciliation Initiatives: Two German Case Studies. Presentation at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) in Washington, DC. September 2013.

  • In Search of Home? Visits by Jewish Emigrants and their Descendants to Their Former Hometowns in Germany, presentation at the “Third Junior Scholars Conference in German‐Jewish History. Germans and Americans in Israel: Israelis in Germany and the United States” at the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, DC, 3. – 4.4.2013.

  • Einladungen in die alte Heimat – Erinnerungskulturen vergleichen? Besuchsprogramme für ehemalige Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus in Berlin, München und Hamburg. Presentation at the public „Forschungskolloquium zur Vergleichs- und Verflechtungsgeschichte“ at Freie Universität Berlin. January 2013.

  •  „Heimweh nach München“. Städtische Einladungen für Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus als Geschichts- und Imagepolitik. Presentation at the interdisciplinary conference „Stadt – Image – Identität. Konstruktion und Wandel von Städtebildern im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert“ at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München (ProMoHist and ProArt) in Munich. November 2012.

  • Coming Back Home? Berlin Presents Itself to Refugees of the Nazi Regime Living Abroad. Paper and presentation at the “Second International Graduate Students’ Conference on Holocaust and Genocide Studies” at the Strassler Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester (USA). April 2012.