Dr. Alex Kay


Contact details

Dr. Alex Kay

Senior Lecturer at the Chair of Military History / Cultural History of Violence

 

Campus Am Neuen Palais
Haus 11, 1.Z.05
(mezzanine!)

 

consulting hours
by appointment

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Vita

Alex J. Kay has taught at the Chair of Military History / Cultural History of Violence since 2017. As of March 2022, he is the holder of a three-year German Research Foundation scholarship as a member of the research unit "Military Cultures of Violence: Illegitimate Military Violence from the Early Modern Period to the Second World War". In 2016, he was also elected lifetime Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. From 2014 to 2016, Dr Kay was Senior Academic Project Coordinator at the Institute of Contemporary History Munich–Berlin (IfZ).

After completing his university studies in history at the Universities of Huddersfield (BA) and Sheffield (MA), England, Dr Kay obtained his PhD in Modern and Contemporary History in 2005 from the Humboldt University, Berlin, where he also taught courses on British history during the early modern period. In addition, he has delivered lectures and talks at conferences and workshops in the USA, Austria, the UK, Germany, Poland, Russia and Hungary. In 2006, he was awarded the Journal of Contemporary History’s first George L. Mosse Prize.

His main research and teaching topics are the history of Germany between 1870 and 1945, National Socialist policies of annihilation, and comparative genocide and mass violence. Dr Kay is the author of Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder: Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940–1941 (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006), The Making of an SS Killer: The Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert, 1905–1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, German edition 2017), Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing (New Haven, CT/London: Yale University Press, 2021) and twenty book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as co-editor of Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide, and Radicalization (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012) and Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2018).

Dr Kay is an external referee for Yale University Press and the scholarly journals Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Journal of Genocide Research.

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Scholarships and awards

  • 2022: Empire of Destruction selected for BookAuthority’s “Best New Nazi Germany Books” list
  • 2022: International Collaboration Fund grant, University of Huddersfield
  • 2021: German Research Foundation scholarship (2022–2025)
  • 2016: Elected lifetime Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • 2006: George L. Mosse Prize of the Journal of Contemporary History

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Conferences and workshops

  • 2022. Invited paper on “Hunger als Massenmordstrategie am Beispiel des NS-Regimes” at the workshop “Hungern, Verhungern, Aushungern. Ressourcenentzug als Gewalt 1914–1945”, organised by the LLF-Forschungsgruppe “Gewalt-Zeiten: Temporalitäten von Gewaltunternehmungen”, University of Hamburg, 11–12 November.
  • 2022. Invited paper on “Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing”, King’s College London, Department of War Studies, 25 October.
  • 2022. Paper on "British and Canadian Atrocities on the Western Front, 1914–1918" at the 61st International Conference for Military History (ITMG) of the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr (ZMSBw) on “(Il)Legality of Military Force and Violence”, 12–14 October (online).
  • 2022. Paper on “Merged Conceptions of Colonial and European Warfare: The British Army on the Western Front, 1914-1918”, University of Potsdam, 30 June.
  • 2022. Invited paper on “Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing”, Yale Center Beijing, 9 May (online).
  • 2021. Invited paper on “Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing”, Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London, 1 December (online).
  • 2021. Invited interviewee at the “Book Talk: Empire of Destruction”, British Association for Holocaust Studies, 28 October (online).
  • 2021. Invited interviewee at the “Virtual HGRP Book Talk – Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing”, Wiener Holocaust Library, London, 5 October (online).
  • 2021. Invited interviewee at the “Book Launch – Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing”, Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, Huddersfield, 8 September (online).
  • 2021. Invited chair of panel “Reckonings and Forced Confrontations after the Holocaust”, part of the Death Marches: Evidence and Memory exhibition events series, Wiener Holocaust Library, London, 6 July (online).
  • 2021. Invited participant in the round-table discussion “The Mid-Level Managers of the Holocaust”, Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, Huddersfield, 25 March (online).
  • 2020. Invited paper on “Holocaust Research in Germany: Current Status and Future Challenges” at the international conference Holocaust Memory: Recent Challenges in Research and Representation, Holocaust Memorial Center, Budapest, 10–11 November (online).
  • 2020. Invited paper on “The Holocaust in the USSR: International Scholarship and Research Findings” on the panel “Violence during the Second World War: New Research, New Documents” at the international conference World War II and the Great Patriotic War: 75th Anniversary of its End, German Historical Institute Moscow, 28–30 September (online).
  • 2018. Paper on “Reconceiving Criminality in the German Army on the Eastern Front, 1941–1942” on the panel “Making Sense of Mass Violence: Perpetrators, Occupation and Everyday Life in the Second World War” (Panel of the German Historical Institute London) at the German History Society Annual Conference, University of Leicester, 13–15 September.
  • 2016. Invited paper on “Alfred Filbert. Erster Chef des SS-Einsatzkommandos 9 im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion”, organised by the Stiftung Topographie des Terrors [Topography of Terror Foundation] and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte [Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History], at the Topographie des Terrors, Berlin, 11 October.
  • 2015. Invited paper on “Bericht über die englische Ausgabe der Quellenedition ‘Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933–1945’”, Institut für Zeitgeschichte [Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History], Berlin, 7 December.
  • 2015. Invited paper on “The Making of an SS Killer: Case Study of a Perpetrator” at the 4th International Workshop for Professional Officers on Dealing with the Past of Auschwitz Burdened by Violence, organised by the Maximilian Kolbe Foundation and zebis – Centre of Ethical Education in the Armed Forces, at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer, Oświęcim, Poland, 26–30 October. http://www.maximilian-kolbe-stiftung.de/de/aktivitaeten/KAY_The-Making-of-an-SS-Killer.pdf​
  • 2012. Invited chair of panel “Hunger Politics” at the international conference War of Annihilation, Reactions, Remembrance: The German Occupation Regime in the Soviet Union 1941–1944, organised by the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, at the Neue Mälzerei, Berlin, 22–24 November.
  • 2012. Invited lecture on “Ausbeutung, Umsiedlung, Massenmord. NS-Zukunftspläne für den Osten: Backe-Plan und Generalplan Ost”, organised by KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI e.V. Verein für Kontakte zu Ländern der ehemaligen Sowjetunion, at the Humboldt University, Berlin, 13 January.
  • 2011. Address at the opening of the travelling exhibition “Bestandserhaltung – Schutz des Kulturgutes in den hessischen Kommunalarchiven”, Haus der Geschichte, Darmstadt, 15 February.
  • 2009. Invited lecture on “The Archaic Face of the Holocaust: Soviet Jewry’s Annihilation”, Kingston University, London, 15 June.
  • 2008. Invited paper on “German Economic Plans for the Occupied Soviet Union and their Implementation” at the workshop United Europe – Divided Memory I, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, 19–21 September.
  • 2008. Commentary on the panel “The Wehrmacht in the Second World War: Straddling the Frontier between Sober Professionalism and Ideological Irrationality” at the 75th Annual Conference of the Society for Military History on “The Military and Frontiers”, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, 17–19 April.

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Monographs

  • Genocide in Historical Perspective (Abingdon, Oxon/New York: Routledge, under contract) [= Seminar Studies in History].
  • Empire of Destruction: A History of Nazi Mass Killing (New Haven, CT/London: Yale University Press, hardback & audiobook 2021), xxi + 376 pages.
    - German: under contract with the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
    - Italian:: L’impero della distruzione. Una storia dell’uccisione di massa nazista (Turin: Einaudi, hardback 2022), xii + 441 pages
    [= La Biblioteca].
    - Russian: under contract with Alpina.
    - Polish: under contract with Dom Wydawniczy REBIS.
  • The Making of an SS Killer: The Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert, 1905–1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, hardback & paperback 2016), xvii + 241 pages.
    - German: The Making of an SS Killer. Das Leben des Obersturmbannführers Alfred Filbert 1905–1990 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, hardback 2017), 253 pages.
  • Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder: Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940–1941 (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, hardback 2006, paperback 2011), xiii + 242 pages [= Studies on War and Genocide, Vol. 10].

Edited volumes

  • Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, hardback & paperback 2018), viii + 307 pages (co-edited with David Stahel).
  • Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide, and Radicalization (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, hardback 2012, paperback 2014), x + 359 pages (co-edited with Jeff Rutherford and David Stahel, with a Foreword by Christian Streit) [= Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe, Vol. 9].

Articles

  • Alfred Filbert, in: Neue Deutsche Biographie online, 1 July 2022.
  • The Holocaust in the USSR: International Scholarship and Research Findings, in: Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Historical Society, et al. (eds.), Vtoraya mirovaya i Velikaya Otechestvennaya: k 75-letiyu okonchaniya (Moscow/Saint Petersburg: Tsentr gumanitarnykh initsiativ, 2022), pp. 155–164 [= Historia Russica].
  • Crimes of the Wehrmacht: A Re-evaluation, in: Journal of Perpetrator Research, 3:1 (2020), pp. 95–127 (co-authored with David Stahel).
    jpr.winchesteruniversitypress.org/articles/abstract/10.21039/jpr.3.1.29/
  • Speaking the Unspeakable: The Portrayal of the Wannsee Conference in the Film Conspiracy, in: Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, 27:2 (2021), pp. 187–200; online 9 August 2019.
    www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17504902.2019.1637492
  • Reconceiving Criminality in the German Army on the Eastern Front, 1941–1942, in: Alex J. Kay and David Stahel (eds.), Mass Violence in Nazi-Occupied Europe (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2018), pp. 173–194 (co-authored with David Stahel).
  • Disagreement is fine. Misrepresentation is not. Response to John Morello, in: The International History Review, 39:5 (2017), pp. 929–930.
  • Dr. Hanns Martin Schleyer: “Ich bin alter Nationalsozialist und SS-Führer”, in: Wolfgang Proske (ed.), Täter – Helfer – Trittbrettfahrer, Band 6: NS-Belastete aus Südbaden (Gerstetten: Kugelberg, 2017), pp. 301–311.
  • Alfred Filbert. Erster Chef des SS-Einsatzkommandos 9 im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion, in: Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte, 18:1 (2017), pp. 151–158.
  • German Economic Plans for the Occupied Soviet Union and their Implementation, 1941–1944, in: Timothy Snyder and Ray Brandon (eds.), Stalin and Europe: Imitation and Domination, 1928–1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 163–189.
    -    Polish:Niemieckie Plany Gospodarcze dla Okupowanych Terenów Związku Sowieckiego i ich Realizacja, 1941–1944, in: Timothy Snyder and Ray Brandon (eds.), Stalin i Europa, 1928–1953 (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2014), pp. 151–169, 304–310.
  • Transition to Genocide, July 1941: Einsatzkommando 9 and the Annihilation of Soviet Jewry, in: Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 27:3 (2013), pp. 411–442.
  • Ungleiche Brüder. Der SS-Massenmörder und der KZ-Häftling, in: Einsicht 10. Bulletin des Fritz Bauer Instituts (2013), pp. 49–55.
  • Brothers – The SS Mass Murderer and the Concentration Camp Inmate, in: Tr@nsit online, 8 August 2013.
    www.iwm.at/read-listen-watch/transit-online/brothers-the-ss-mass-murderer-and-the-concentration-camp-inmate/
  • “The Purpose of the Russian Campaign is the Decimation of the Slavic Population by Thirty Million”: The Radicalization of German Food Policy in early 1941, in: Alex J. Kay, Jeff Rutherford and David Stahel (eds.), Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide, and Radicalization (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012), pp. 101–129.
  • Death Threat in the Reichstag, June 13, 1929: Nazi Parliamentary Practice and the Fate of Ernst Heilmann, in: German Studies Review, 35:1 (2012), pp. 19–32.
  • A “War in a Region beyond State Control”? The German-Soviet War, 1941–1944, in: War in History, 18:1 (2011), pp. 109–122.
  • Verhungernlassen als Massenmordstrategie. Das Treffen der deutschen Staatssekretäre am 2. Mai 1941, in: Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte, 11:1 (2010), pp. 81–105.
  • “Hierbei werden zweifellos zig Millionen Menschen verhungern.” Die deutsche Wirtschaftsplanung für die besetzte Sowjetunion und ihre Umsetzung 1941–1944, in: Transit: Europäische Revue, 38 (2009), pp. 57–77.
  • Revisiting the Meeting of the Staatssekretäre on 2 May 1941: A Response to Klaus Jochen Arnold and Gert C. Lübbers, in: Journal of Contemporary History, 43:1 (2008), pp. 93–104.
  • Germany’s Staatssekretäre, Mass Starvation and the Meeting of 2 May 1941, in: Journal of Contemporary History, 41:4 (2006), pp. 685–700.

Reviews

Approximately 35 reviews to date in the following newspapers and journals:

  • American Historical Review
  • Archiv für Sozialgeschichte
  • Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus
  •  Central European History
  • Einsicht. Bulletin des Fritz Bauer Instituts
  • German History
  • H-German
  • Historische Zeitschrift
  • Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • H-Soz-Kult
  • Journal of Contemporary History
  • sehepunkte. Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung    
  • University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History
  • War in History
  • Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte

Miscellaneous

  • Walter Mattner and the Murder of Jewish Infants, in: YaleBooks. Yale University Press Official London Blog, 19 July 2022.
  • Die schrecklichsten Monate, in: Forschung & Lehre, 26 January 2021.
  • Falsche Helden. Die Ausstellung der Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand beschönigt die Biographien einiger Militärs. Ihre Überarbeitung ist überfällig, in: Der Tagesspiegel, 2 January 2013, p. 23.
  • Der sichere Tod. Nach dem Überfall auf die Sowjetunion sollte Weißrussland systematisch ausgehungert werden. Das Programm des Massenmords hatte die NS-Ministerialbürokratie entworfen, in: Der Freitag, 22 July 2010, p. 12.
  • Angekündigter Mord. Vor 70 Jahren wurde der Sozialdemokrat Ernst Heilmann im KZ Buchenwald ermordet. Damit gedroht hatte NS-Führer Frick schon 1929 im Reichstag, in: Der Freitag, 18 March 2010, p. 12.
  • Hungertod nach Plan. Hunderttausende Menschen starben während der Blockade Leningrads im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Ein Beispiel für die systematische deutsche Hungerpolitik gegen die sowjetische Bevölkerung, in: Der Freitag, 23 January 2009, p. 11.
  • “Viele zehn Millionen Menschen werden überflüssig”. Gab es im Russlandfeldzug eine logistische Katastrophe oder Massenverhungern als Staatspolitik? Eine Antwort auf Stefan Scheil, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 June 2007, p. N 3.
  • Zunächst kommt die Truppe. Wehrmacht und Hungerpolitik: Eine Erwiderung auf Stefan Scheil, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 February 2007, p. N 3.

Teaching

Semester

Type

Location

Title

WS 2021/22Seminar (MA) Genocide Through the Ages
Seminar (MA) From Napoleon to Hitler: The Road to Total War, 1792–1945
 Reading Course (MA) From Napoleon to Hitler: The Road to Total War, 1792–1945
WS 2020/21Seminar (MA)

Historisches Institut der Universität Potsdam

Mass Violence during the Second World War: Sources and Literature
Seminar (BA) Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten und Schreiben für Historikerinnen und Historiker

SS 2020

Seminar (MA)

 

Genocide since 1945

WS 2019/20

Seminar (MA)

Selected Holocaust Documents in English

Seminar (BA)

 

Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten und Schreiben für Historiker

SS 2019

Seminar (MA)

Genocide since 1945

WS 2018/19

Seminar (MA)

Holocaust Survivor Testimonies in English

WS 2017/18

Selected Holocaust Documents in English

WS 2005/06

Seminar

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Regicide to Restoration: England’s Decade as a Republic

SS 2005

Civil War and Revolution in Britain, 1640–1649