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Lina Nikou

Lina Nikou was a PhD student at Hamburg University and worked at the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg (Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg). She was a visiting fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, while receiving the Leo Baeck Fellowship. Furthermore, she was funded by the ZEIT-Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius and spent a summer at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) in Washington, DC as well as one and a half month in Israel, while being funded by the FAZIT foundation. She studied History, Political Science, Cultural Anthropology and Management of Museums at Hamburg University.


Coming Back Home? 

- Invitation Programs of German Cities for Former Refugees of the Nazi Regime

Only fifteen years after the end of World War Two, some German cities initiated contacts with their former citizens living abroad, who had suffered persecution during the Nazi period. These early local initiatives were met with an enormous interest from many mostly Jewish emigrants, who were willing to acknowledge these small gestures of reconciliation. Despite this interest, however, in the 1960s only few German cities extended invitations to their former citizens. The thesis tells the story of these early German-Jewish-German interactions defined in large part by the seemingly paradoxical reactions from both involved parties. On the side of the former victims, one encounters the continuously strong desire for rapprochement, and, on the non-Jewish German side, one is met with initially reluctant attitudes of the city governments. The thesis documents the first contacts and subsequent invitation programs in the Federal Republic of Germany from the 1960s until today for the first time. In doing so, it paints a comprehensive portrait of the interrelations between the cities’ representatives and the former refugees and survivors. Furthermore, it provides a close critical comparison of the contacts and invitations initiated by Munich, Frankfurt on the Main and Berlin. Underpinning this historical analysis are mainly archival sources from the cities administrations, interviews with organizers and emigrants conducted by the researcher, and insights coming from a careful examination of newspaper coverage.




Zwischen Imagepflege, moralischer Verpflichtung und Erinnerungen. Das Besuchsprogramm für jüdische ehemalige Hamburger Bürgerinnen und Bürger, München, Hamburg 2011.


Receiving Reconciliation? Invitations from German Cities to Jewish Refugees of National Socialism in the United States, in: AICGS Society, Culture & Politics Program, URL:…, Washington, DC 2013.

„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.

„Mein Name ist Ausländer“. Alltagserfahrungen und Migrationspolitik in der Stadt, in: 19 Tage Hamburg. Ereignisse und Entwicklungen der Stadtgeschichte seit den fünfziger Jahren, ed. by Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, München, Hamburg 2012, pp. 217–230.

„Also, ich war ein normales Kriegskind.“ Mathel Miriam Gottlieb-Drucker. Auf der Suche nach Zugehörigkeit, in: Aus Hamburg in alle Welt. Lebensgeschichten jüdischer Verfolgter aus der „Werkstatt der Erinnerung”, ed. by Linde Apel, Klaus David und Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Hamburg, München 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. 18