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Andrew Demshuk

Assistant Professor Department of History

Professor Demshuk specializes in modern Central European history, with emphasis on the influence of memory and ethnic cleansing in the post-1945 German states and Poland. His first monograph, "The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970," was published with Cambridge University Press in 2012 (paperback 2014) and examines how, amid the charged political context of the early Cold War, millions of West Germans expelled from the province of Silesia after World War II came to recognize that physical return was not possible. A fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2014-2015) has since supported work on his next major project: a comparative history of post-1945 reconstruction and urban planning in three cities which had been part of united Germany before 1945 and were then divided by Cold War borders. By exploring the case examples of Frankfurt am Main (West Germany), Leipzig (East Germany), and Wrocław (western Poland), this project examines the politics of memory in urban reconstruction under three contrasting regime ideologies haunted by the recent Nazi past. Although this research will produce a monograph in the near future, focused analysis of diverse and neglected archival sources in Leipzig has already facilitated a second monograph, "Demolition on Karl Marx Square: Cultural Barbarism in the People’s State, 1949-1968-1989," which is under contract with Oxford University Press. This book looks at how the 1968 demolition of Leipzig’s medieval University Church brought about an essential turning point in relations between Communist authorities and the “people” they claimed to serve. The largest East German protest between the 1953 Uprising and 1989 Revolution, this intimate story clarifies how the “dictatorial” system operated and lost public belief. New to the department in Fall 2016, Professor Demshuk specializes on courses relating to twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, with close attention to the effects of mid-century forced migration on the post-1945 world we inhabit today.


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010)
MA, Marquette University (2005)
BA, Aquinas College (2002)

Languages Spoken
German, Polish

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CAS - History
Tuesday 11:00-12:00, 2:15-3:00, or by appointment
Contact Info

Send email to Andrew Demshuk

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Modern Central Europe, migrations and ethnic cleansing, memory and nostalgia, post-WWII urban reconstruction, historic preservation, civic activism, nationalism, borderlands, transnational interchange.


Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Books:

  • The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Paperback Edition, 2014.
  • Co-Editor and Contributor: “The Voice of the Lost German East: Heimat Bells as Soundscapes of Memory,” in Cultural Landscapes: Transatlantische Perspektiven auf Wirkungen und Auswirkungen deutscher Kultur und Geschichte im östlichen Europa, ed. Andrew Demshuk and Tobias Weger (Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2015).

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • “A Mausoleum for Bach? Holy Relics and Urban Planning in Early Communist Leipzig, 1945-1950,” History & Memory 28, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2016): 47-89.
  • “Preservationism, Postmodernism, and the Public across the Iron Curtain in Leipzig and Frankfurt/Main, 1968-1988,” in Re-framing Identities: Architecture’s Turn to History, ed. Ákos Moravánszky and Torsten Lange (Berlin: Birkhäuser/De Gruyter, Fall 2016).
  • “Godfather Cities: West German Patenschaften and the Lost German East,” German History 32, no. 2 (2014): 224-255.
  • “What Was the ‘Right to the Heimat’? West German Expellees and the Many Meanings of Heimkehr,” Central European History 45, no. 3 (September 2012): 523-556.
  • “Reinscribing Schlesien as Śląsk: Memory and Mythology in a Postwar German-Polish Borderland,” History & Memory 24, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2012): 39-86.
  • “‘Heimaturlauber’. Westdeutsche Reiseerlebnisse im polnischen Schlesien vor 1970,” Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung 60, no. 1 (2011): 79-99.
  • “Heimweh in the Heimat. Homesick Travelers in the Lost German East, 1955-1970,” in Re-mapping Polish-German Historical Memory: Physical, Political, and Literary Spaces since World War II, ed. Justyna Beinek and Piotr Kosicki (Bloomington: Slavica, 2011): 57-79.
  • “‘When you come back, the Mountains will surely still be there!’ How Silesian Expellees processed the Loss of their Homeland in the early Postwar Years, 1945‑1949,” Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung 57, no. 2 (2008), 159-186.
  • “‘Wehmut und Trauer:’ Jewish Travelers in Polish Silesia and the Foreignness of Heimat,” Jahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts (Dec. 2007): 311-335.
  • “Citizens in Name Only: The National Status of the German Expellees, 1945-1953,” Ethnopolitics 5, no. 4 (Nov. 2006): 383-397.

    Review Essays:

  • “Ethnic Cleansing and its Legacies in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe,” European History Quarterly 43:2 (April 2013): 326-334.
  • Hans Henning Hahn and Robert Traba, eds., Deutsch-Polnische Erinnerungsorte, 5 vols., ZfO (forthcoming).
  • Cornelia Eisler, Verwaltete Erinnerung– symbolische Politik and Stefan Scholz, Vertriebenendenkmäler, ZfO (forthcoming).
  • Numerous book reviews with American Historical Review, Central European History, Slavic Review, European History Quarterly, German Studies Review, Slavonic & East European Review, Canadian Journal of History, Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung, Sehepunkte, Canadian Slavonic Papers, H-German, and Pol-Int.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship (2014-2015)

Faculty Development Grant, University of Alabama at Birmingham (Summer 2013)

Smith Book Award, Honorable Mention for The Lost German East, European History Section, Southern Historical Association (2012)

Herder Institut Research Fellowships (2009, 2007)

DAAD Dissertation Research Fellowship (2007-2008)

Dubnow Institut Fellowship at the University of Leipzig (2006)

ASN award for best Graduate Paper on Central Europe (2006)


Work In Progress

  • “Demolition on Karl Marx Square: Cultural Barbarism in the East German People’s State, 1945-1968-1989.” Under contract with Oxford University Press, projected publication 2017.
  • “Three Cities after Hitler: Urban Reconstruction across Cold War Borders.” Partial Manuscript.
  • “Homesick Tourists: Journeys to the Lost German East, Encounters in the Polish Wild West, 1945-2015.”