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Overzicht onderzoeksresultaten

Bas von Benda-Beckman (1976) studied History in wrote his PhD in 2010: A German Catastrophe. German Historians and the Allied Bombings, 1945-2010 (University of Amsterdam)


NIOD Amsterdam: (2013-…) Experiences of Imprisonment in the Netherlands under Nazi Rule: The “Oranjehotel” in Scheveningen.

The project offers a micro-historical approach to persecution and imprisonment in the Netherlands during the German occupation. It analyses the experiences of captivity in the most important German prison in the Netherlands. Based on testimonies (interviews, memoirs, contemporary correspondence and diaries) and remaining official documents I explore the experiences of detainees, guards and others who were involved and analyse the position and function of the Scheveningen prison in the German persecution system in the occupied Netherlands. The project seeks to cast new light on the role of class, gender, religion and race in the interactions between prisoners and between the guards and prisoners. The project will result in a monograph, which is due to be published in the fall of 2018 and one international publication.

Independent: (2013-…) Exploring complicity and guilt in my Family History: the legacy of Alfred Jodl

This project deals with the problem of family memory and history from a very personal point of view. In this project I explore the experiences and memories of my grandparents and great aunts and uncles during the Nazi regime and their impact on my family memory of WWII. The protagonists in this project are my great-Aunt Luise Jodl, who was the widow of General Alfred Jodl and her younger sister Tini Klein, who had a relationship with a ‘half-Jewish’ doctor named Ottmar Hoffman. In the project I try to explore the complexities of conflicting personal experiences in the context of family memory and also the emotional and hermeneutic problems I am confronted with in my ambiguous role as a family member and historian.

This project is supported by the Fonds voor Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten and will result in a blog ( several articles and a book, which aims to combine ‘free writing’ with academic elements.

Finalized Projects:

(2013-2014) NIOD Amsterdam: The Roman Catholic Church and the limits of resistance.

In this exploratory study I was the chief investigator and author of a report on the possibilities of future research on the ambiguous role of the Roman Catholic Church and its institutions in the Netherlands regarding various forms of dissent, opposition and resistance in the Netherlands. Together with former Director of the NIOD, Marjan Schwegman, I summarized the current state of research and explored a number of case studies, to enable new perspectives on the study of religion and resistance under Nazi rule.  

(2010-2013) Leiden University/NIOD Amsterdam: Internal conflicts within Dutch Resistance during WWII: The Velsen Affair.

In this project I explored one of the most contested postwar affairs in the Dutch process of coming to terms with its resistance history: the conflict between conservative resistance leaders and a particularly active communist group in the region of Haarlem and Velsen. The project entangles a number of local conflicts within the Dutch resistance and explores the tension between the myth of unified national resistance and the heritage of moral complicity, political conflicts and dubious killings that were committed by members of the resistance in the context of local and national memory discourse. The project resulted in a monograph De Velser Affaire. Een omstreden oorlogsgeschiedenis, (nominated/shortlisted by the Libris History Prize for best history book 2014) and numerous academic and public lectures, articles and workshops.

(2005-2010) PHD-project University of Amsterdam: German historians and the Allied bombings.

In this project I analysed the historiography on Allied bombing in the GDR, Federal Republic and United Germany. The Allied bombings during the Second World War have had a strong impact on German post-war society. German historians, journalists, and writers debated the historical significance and legitimacy of the Allied bombings to a much wider extent than is often claimed. In both the GDR and the Federal Republic before and after 1990, the air war became a topic of public and political interest as well as the subject of numerous historical accounts. Like many sensitive topics, the moral and historical interpretation of the Allied bombings has been fundamentally contested and has led to fierce debates among historians. In this project I explored the German historiography on the Allied bombings and analyses how German historical accounts of the air war reflected broader debates on post-war German identity. The project resulted in a PhD in 2010 at the university of Amsterdam, several articles in academic volumes and journals and a 2015 monograph German Historians and the Bombing of German Cities. for Amsterdam University Press.

Publications (selection) 

German Historians and the Bombing of German Cities. The Contested Air War. Studies of the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.  (AUP, Amsterdam 2015)

De Velser Affaire. Een omstreden oorlogsgeschiedenis (Boom, Amsterdam: 2013)

England’s Sole Repsonsibility? West German historians and the Bombenkrieg  Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence (peer reviewed): /Sciences Po)

With Marjan Schwegman en René van Heijningen NIOD Rapport verkennend onderzoek: De Rooms-katholieke Kerk en de grenzen van verzet in Nederland tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog, met een overzicht van relevante archieven (NIOD 2015) 98 p.

De oorlogsjaren van Johan van Hulst  in: Gerlof Verweij en Wouter van Haaften red., Johan W. van Hulst, pedagoog, politicus, verzetsman. In de voetstappen van Coornhert. (Verloren, Hilversum 2015) pp. 75-104.

Aunts at War. Loss, guilt and the autobiographies of Luise and Tini von Benda Yearbook of Women's History 34 (2014). pp. 51-68.

Een troebele blik op het turbulente leven van Leo Rodrigues Lopes, 1909-1952 in: Gijs Boink, Albert Kersten, Een kapitaal aan kennis. Liber Amicorum Sierk Plantinga (Den Haag 2013). pp 242-245.

Imperialist Air War. East German academic Research and Memory Politics reflected in the Work of Olaf Groehler in: Annette Seidel-Arpaci en Helmut Schmitz ed., Narratives of Trauma. Discourses of German Wartime Suffering in National and International Perspective (German monitor, Amsterdam/New York 2011). pp 33-58.

Eine deutsch-deutsche Katastrophe? Deutungsmuster des Bombenkriegs in der ost- und westdeutschen Geschichtswissenschaft, in Dietmar Süß, Jörg Arnold en Malte Thießen ed., Luftkrieg. Erinnerungen in Deutschland und Europa (Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2009). pp. 297-311.

Geen familiegeheim. De herinnering aan de Geallieerde bombardementen in recent onderzoek: een besprekingsartikel, in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis vol. 122 (2009) afl. 1, pp. 34-47.

De 'imperialistische Luftkrieg' en de Koude Oorlog. DDR-historici over de Geallieerde bombardementen op Duitse steden, in: Patrick Dassen, Ton Nijhuis en
Krijn Thijs ed., Duitsers als slachtoffers. Het einde van een taboe? (Mets en Schilt, Amsterdam 2007) pp. 389-430.

Trommelen tegen Faust. Nationaalsocialisme, schuld en intellectuele verantwoordelijkheid in Dokter Faustus en Die Blechtrommel, in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis vol.118 (2005), afl. 4, pag. 551-563.


Since 2007 I have been teaching various BA and MA courses in Memory Studies, the history of International Relations, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Military history and German Studies.