About the team

About the team

Widespread involvement in state-sponsored violence raises questions about justice, identity, and the legacies of a violent past. Our collaborative interdisciplinary research project, Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism, funded by the AHRC and the Pears Foundation, examines the ambiguous roles and changing representations of those who were entangled in the Nazi regime.
Portrait of Professor Mary Fulbrook, FBA, the Principal Investigator of Compromised Identities?
Prof. Mary Fulbrook, FBA

Professor of German History at UCL


Prof. Mary Fulbrook, FBA, is Professor of German History at UCL, and former Executive Dean of the UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences. A graduate of both Cambridge and Harvard universities, Fulbrook has written more than a dozen books, including both scholarly monographs and general overviews, and has edited or co-edited a dozen more. She was founding Joint Editor of German History, and serves on several international academic advisory boards concerned with aspects of twentieth-century history. Her recent research has focussed on the German dictatorships – the Third Reich and the GDR – and their aftermath; currently, she is working on bystanders and complicity in systemic racism.

Relevant recent publications

Mary Fulbrook, Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). Winner of 2019 Wolfson History Prize; Cundill Recognition of Excellence Award.

Mary Fulbrook, A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); 2012 Fraenkel Prize Winner.

Mary Fulbrook, Dissonant Lives: Generations and Violence through the German Dictatorships (Oxford University Press, 2011; revised two-volume paperback, 2017)


Prof. Stephanie Bird is Professor of German Studies at UCL. Her interest in perpetration relates to three distinct but inter-related strands. First is her work on narrative ethics and the ways in which representing forms of abuse or perpetration can be understood to be ethical. The second is her interest in the overlap between fact and fiction: what can fiction add to the representation of historical atrocity? Finally, she is interested in the relationship of comedy and suffering and how our understanding of historical trauma and the perpetration of violence may be enhanced if representations include a pleasurable comic aesthetic.

Relevant recent publications

Stephanie Bird, Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945. The Inner Side of Mourning (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016).

Stephanie Bird, ‘Nazis disguised as Jews and Israel’s pursuit of Justice: The Eichmann trial and the kapo trials in Robert Shaw’s The Man in the Glass Booth and Emanuel Litvinoff’s Falls the Shadow’, Holocaust Studies, 24:4, (2018), pp. 466-487.

Stephanie Bird, ‘Perpetrators and Perpetration in Literature’, in Susanne C. Knittel and Zachary J. Goldberg (eds), Routledge Handbook of Perpetrator Studies (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2019).

Professor Stephanie Bird, Co-investigator of Compromised Identities?
Prof. Stephanie Bird

Professor of German Studies at UCL


Dr. Stefanie Rauch, a Research Fellow of Compromised Identities?
Dr Stefanie Rauch


Dr Stefanie Rauch received her PhD from the University of Leicester and joined UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies in 2016. Her research interests include twentieth-century German history with a focus on the Nazi period and its legacies, media representations and audience reception, WWII intelligence history, and digital humanities. Her current research on the Compromised Identities project explores the ways in which non-persecuted Germans and Austrians negotiated different degrees of involvement and complicity in the Third Reich after 1945. It analyses patterns of self-representations in different post-war encounters, and the relationship between private lives and identities, and socio-political contexts.

Relevant publications

Stefanie Rauch, ‘Understanding the Holocaust through Film: Audience Reception between Preconceptions and Media Effects, History & Memory, 30:1, (2018), pp. 151-188.

Stefanie Rauch, ‘”I honestly felt sick”: Affect and Pain in Viewers’ Responses to Holocaust Films’, in Stella Bruzzi and Berenike Jung (eds), Beyond the Rhetorics of Pain (New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2019).

Stefanie Rauch, ‘Good Bets, Bad Bets and Dark Horses: Allied Intelligence Officers’ Encounters with German Civilians, 1944-45’, Central European History, 53:1, (2020), pp. 120-145.

Dr. habil. Christoph Thonfeld, historian, has done research and/or taught at Bremen University, Hagen University and Trier University in Germany, at Cheng Chi University and National Taiwan Normal University in Taiwan and at University College London in England. His main area of interest is 20th century German and European history with special emphasis on the Nazi era and its aftermath. His most recent research is on judicial ways of dealing with Nazi crimes in post-war Germany and Austria as well as on diachronic development of Holocaust survivor testimony. Currently, he is head of research department at Dachau concentration camp memorial site in Germany.

Relevant publications

Christoph Thonfeld, Sozialkontrolle und Eigensinn. Denunziation am Beispiel Thüringens 1933-1949 [“Social control and self-will. Denunciation by the example of Thuringia, 1933–1949”]. (Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Boehlau, 2003).

Christoph Thonfeld, Rehabilitierte Erinnerungen? Individuelle Erfahrungsverarbeitungen und kollektive Repräsentationen von NS-Zwangsarbeit im internationalen Vergleich [Rehabilitated Memories? Individual processing of experiences and collective representations of forced labour under the Nazi regime in international comparison] (Essen: Klartext, 2014).

Christoph Thonfeld, ‘Sharing a divided memory. The first half of 20th century history in the cultures of remembrance in post-Cold War Germany and Poland’, Bulletin of Historical Research of National Taiwan Normal University, 61, (2019), 1-46.

Dr. Christoph Thonfeld, a Research Fellow of Compromised Identities?
Dr. habil. Christoph Thonfeld


Dr. Bastiaan Willems, a Research Fellow of Compromised Identities?
Dr Bastiaan Willems


Dr Bastiaan Willems is a historian of the Second World war. He completed his PhD in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh, where he focused on the behaviour of German soldiers towards their own compatriots during the defence of East Prussia, Germany’s easternmost province, between July 1944 and May 1945. Besides “Compromised Identities”, he is currently involved in two other projects. “Communities of Violence” seeks to explain the vast increase of public summary executions in the final year of the Second World War. “Unwilling Nomads” explores the transnational consequences of forced migration within and from Europe between 1910 and 1955. Please visit: www.bpvwillems.com

Relevant publications

Bastiaan Willems, Violence in Defeat: The Wehrmacht on German Soil, 1944-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Bastiaan Willems, ‚Nachbeben des Totalen Kriegs: Der Rückzug der Wehrmacht durch Ostpreußen und seine Folgen’, VfZ (66), 2018, pp. 403-33.

Bastiaan Willems and Joe Schuldt, ‘The ‘European boundaries’ of the East Prussian expellees in West-Germany, 1948-1955’, Novoe Proshloe/The New Past (3) 2018, pp. 28 – 47.

Research Impact Fellow

Dr Daniel Edmonds completed his PhD on the interaction of British Marxism and transnational anti-colonialist currents at the University of Manchester in 2018. Since then he has worked with and for heritage organisations, public education projects, and NGOs, making academic historical research accessible to a range of audiences, from school students and teachers to museum visitors and trade unionists. He is currently working with the Compromised Identities team and external partners to develop learning resources based on the project research, and to organise events, which make this research accessible to a range of audiences.

Dr. Daniel Edmonds, a Research Impact Fellow of Compromised Identities?
Dr Daniel Edmonds


Exhibition Design