Andrew Demsuk outside the Cologne Cathedral. Assistant Professor
(205) 934-8693 (email preferred)
Heritage Hall 360G

Research and Teaching Interests: Modern Central and East-Central Europe, migrations and ethnic cleansing, memory and nostalgia, travel, post-WWII urban planning and reconstruction, nationalism, borderlands, transnational interchange

Office Hours: T 12:30 - 1:50 p.m.; and by appointment

  • BA, Aquinas College, 2002
  • MA, Marquette University, 2005
  • PhD, University of Illinois, 2010

Dr. Andrew 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 book The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945–1970 (Cambridge University Press, June 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. It has received extensive positive reviews and won one of the two honorable mentions from the biannual 2012 Smith book award from the European History Section of the Southern Historical Association. He has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles addressing other dimensions of his field.

Through financial support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (August 2014-December 2015), Dr. Demshuk will pursue research 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—Frankfurt am Main (West Germany), Leipzig (East Germany), and Wrocław (western Poland). The project examines the politics of memory in urban reconstruction under three contrasting regime ideologies and societies haunted by the recent Nazi past, racial tensions, and forced ethnic migration.

Dr. Demshuk has conducted research at libraries, institutes, and archives across Germany with funding from the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig (2006), the Herder Institut in Marburg (2007, 2009), the German Academic Exchange Program (2007-2008), and the UAB College of Arts and Sciences and Faculty Development Program (2013). He frequently participates in overseas conferences and workshops, and regularly contributes papers at meetings of the German Studies Association; Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and Southern Historical Association. He often reviews monographs for peer-reviewed academic journals, has composed a review essay on comparative historical approaches to ethnic cleansing, and has helped to organize events with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and Birmingham International Center.

Bicycling, hiking, and international travel are Dr. Demshuk's favorite activities. He has bicycled across the Neckar, Ruhr, Rhine, Danube, and Lahn valleys of Germany and the Swabian and Sauerland hill countries. Hiking adventures have included the Mosel river valley from Schengen (where France, Germany, and Luxembourg meet) to Koblenz at the mouth of the Mosel, the Bóbr river valley and Tatra Mountains in Poland, the Alps on the Austrian-German border, and the German Harz and Schönbuch forests. His travels have taken him to Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, Italy, Finland, and Canada. He comes from Michigan, his German Heimat (home) is Marburg, and his favorite church in the world is the Cologne Cathedral (pictured), the King of Gothic. In the near future, he plans to travel with his wife on the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Vladivostok and explore more of her Canadian Heimat via the Trans-Canada railway.

  • Western Civilization, 1648-present
  • Europe Reconstructed, 1945-1989
  • Eastern Europe in the Age of Ethnic Cleansing, 1913-2013
  • Eastern Europe in the Age of Empire, 1789-1918
  • The German Catastrophe: Central Europe after 1815
  • Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe
  • Urban Modernity and the Politics of Memory in 20th-century Europe
  • Supervision of Senior Capstone Projects
Book Chapters:
  • “The Voice of the Lost German East: Heimat Bells as Soundscapes of Memory,” in Cultural Landscapes: Transatlantische Perspektiven auf Wirkungen und Auswirkungen deutscher Kultur & Geschichte im östlichen Europa, Andrew Demshuk Tobias Weger, eds. (Oldenbourg, forthcoming 2014).
  • "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, Justyna Beinek and Piotr H. Kosicki, eds. (Slavica, 2011): 57-79.


  • “Godfather Cities: West German Patenschaften and the Lost German East,” German History 32 (No. 2, 2014): 224-55.
  • "Ethnic Cleansing and its Legacies in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe," European History Quarterly 43:2 (April 2013): 326-34.
  • "What Was the 'Right to the Heimat'? West German Expellees and the Many Meanings of Heimkehr," Central European History 45 (No. 3, September 2012): 523-56.
  • "Reinscribing Schlesien as Śląsk: Memory and Mythology in a Postwar German-Polish Borderland," History & Memory 24 (No. 1, Spring/Summer 2012): 39-86.
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, 2014-2015
  • Smith Book Award, Honorable Mention for The Lost German East, European Section, SHA, 2012
  • UAB Faculty Development Grant for Overseas Research, Summer 2013
  • UAB Dean's Grant for Overseas Research, Summer 2013
  • UAB Sterne Grant for Modern German and East European History library acquisitions, 2012
  • Graduate Certificate in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, The Program in Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois (UIUC), 2010
  • Herder Institut Research Fellowship in Marburg, Germany, 2009
  • Travel/Study fellowship: DAAD interdisciplinary summer institute, Kraków, Poland, 2009
  • DAAD Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Germany, 2007-2008
  • Herder Institut Research Fellowship in Marburg, Germany, 2007
  • Dubnow Institut Fellowship at the University of Leipzig, Germany, 2006
  • Member, European History Section of the Southern Historical Association (SHA)
  • Member, American Historical Association (AHA)
  • Member, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
  • Member, German Studies Association (GSA)