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Andrew Demshuk Associate Professor History

Send email to Andrew Demshuk
(202) 885-2407
CAS - History
Battelle Tompkins - 119
Office: BT-119 Wednesday 2:30-4:30
PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010)

MA, Marquette University (2005) BA, Aquinas College (2002)

Languages Spoken
German, Polish
Professor Demshuk's research focuses on post-1945 German and Polish history. His first monograph, "The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970" (Cambridge University Press, 2012) 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) supported work on two further book projects. His second monograph, "Demolition on Karl Marx Square: Cultural Barbarism and the People’s State in 1968" (Oxford University Press, 2017) 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 amid the largest East German protest between the 1953 Uprising and 1989 Revolution. His third monograph, "Three Cities after Hitler: Redemptive Reconstruction across Cold War Borders" (under contract with University of Pittsburgh Press) measures the politics of memory in urban reconstruction under three contrasting regime ideologies haunted by the recent Nazi past. Weaving back together a common narrative, it compares post-1945 urban planning in three cities which had been part of united Germany before 1945 and were then divided by Cold War borders -- Frankfurt (West Germany), Leipzig (East Germany), and Wrocław (western Poland). His latest book, "Bowling for Communism: Urban Ingenuity at the End of East Germany" (Cornell University Press, 2020) combines archival reading with oral history to explore local civic initiative at the official and public levels to "save" Leipzig from the bureaucratic obstructionism from central authorities in Berlin. The book measures how catastrophic urban decay helped to prompt dynamic interplay between residents, local officials, and central authorities over the decade before Leipzigers spearheaded the revolution that ended East German communism in 1989. Professor Demshuk specializes on courses relating to twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, with close attention nationalism, genocide and ethnic cleansing, urban planning and memory, and the broader effects of mid-20th-century forced migration on the world we inhabit today.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2021

  • HIST-140 Modern European History

  • HIST-140 Modern European History

  • HIST-720 Colloq: Mod Europe 1789-1900

Fall 2021

  • CORE-105 Complex Problems Seminar: Cities: Destroyed & Reinvented

  • CORE-107 Complex Problems Seminar: Cities: Destroyed & Reinvented

  • HIST-418 Nazi Germany

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.


Peer-Reviewed Books:

  • Demolition on Karl Marx Square: Cultural Barbarism and the People's State in 1968 (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970 (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:

  • "The People's Bowling Palace: Building Underground in Late Communist Leipzig," Contemporary European History (forthcoming).
  • "A Polish Approach for German Cities? Cement Old Towns and the Search for Rootedness in Postwar Leipzig and Frankfurt/Main," European History Quarterly (forthcoming).
  • "Rebuilding after the Reich: Sacred Sites in Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Wrocław, 1945-1949," in War and the Urban Context, ed. Tim Keogh (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, forthcoming).
  • “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

Residency Fellowship, GWZO, Leipzig (Summer 2018)

Mellon Grant and International Travel Grant, American University (Summer 2018)

Book Incubator Grant, American University CAS (April 2017)

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

Monograph Projects:

  • "Bowling for Communism: Urban Ingenuity at the End of East Germany." Under Contract with Cornell University Press.
  • “Three Cities after Hitler: Urban Reconstruction across Cold War Borders.” Under Blind Peer Review with an Academic Press.
  • “Alien Homeland: Human Encounters after Forced Migration on a German-Polish Borderland, 1970-1990."

Article Projects:

  • "Architecture Beyond Ideology: The Politics of Forgotten Landmarks in Communist East Germany"
  • "East Germany and the Lost German East: Dresden-Wroclaw 'Socialist Friendship' after Nazism and Forced Migration"