Inhaltspezifische Aktionen

Daria Starikashkina

2018–2019    Recipient of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes fellowship

2018-present time

The International Graduate Center for Study of Culture, Giessen University, PhD project under the supervision of Professor Dr. Thomas Bohn: “Broken Rings: Leningrad Jews in the siege”
2013-2018 University of Haifa, The Weiss-Livnat International MA in Holocaust Studies. MA project: “National vs. Soviet: The Case of Leningrad Jews on the eve of the siege”
2012-2014 St. Petersburg State University, Joint program with The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, MA in Cultural Studies: Jewish Culture, Modern time. MA project: “The formation of memory of the Holocaust and its reflection in visual art. Case study: Bracha L. Ettinger’s work”
2009-2012 East-European Psychoanalysis Institute, BA Program in Psychoanalytic Studies
2005-2009 St. Petersburg State University of Economics, BA Program in Economics and Environmental Management studies

Research interests:                

History of World War Two

  • Holocaust studies
  • Soviet studies
  • Jewish studies
  • Memory studies
  • Trauma studies
  • Identity studies 


Daria Starikashkina. Representation of Catastrophe: Memory in Art vs. Art of Memory// International Journal for Cultural Research. — 2016. - № 3 (24): 122-130.


My dissertation examines a number of previously unexplored issues about the Jewish identity that was formed in the besieged space of Leningrad between 1941 and 1944. This identity was shaped at the interface of their survival of two historical catastrophes: the siege of Leningrad and the Holocaust. Although the Nazi genocide of the Jews never directly took place in Leningrad, parts of the Jewish population were exterminated on the occupied territories around the encircled city, which played a significant symbolic role in the Jews’ experience of the siege.

My study begins by exploring the identity of the Leningrad Jews before the start of the siege, and how various aspects of ethnic and Soviet supra-ethnic identities were intertwined.  It  pays special attention to examining anti-Semitic sentiment in Leningrad. It attempts to trace the development of such an atmosphere in the interwar period and investigate how state repression on the part of the Soviet government exacerbated ethnic tensions and anti-Semitic sentiment in Leningrad. By relying on identity formation theory, which pays equal attention to internal and external influences on identity, this study demonstrates the role of anti-Semitic discourse in the process of identity building.

The study investigates the structure of this Jewish identity and the main trends in its distinctive transformation during the siege. It goes beyond isolated individual stories by examining a number of texts, including memoirs, diaries and interviews. It analyzes not only the circumstances of the siege as a result of the encirclement of the city, but also the Soviet government's policy of security control with regard to the city’s population. It situates the siege experience in the broader context of the war and its inherent anti-Semitism, which played a significant role in the experience of the Jews in the siege.  The study explores the policy of security control in the city, which affected the entire population, but specifically targeted the Jews. By relying on the concept of imagined communities, this paper aims to investigate the emerging Jewish identity in Leningrad, which was based on reflection on their status during the war.  Siege identity was made up of the need to overcome existential and physical suffering, as well as to make the world anew. For this reason, the siege experience should be seen as a constructive force as well as a destructive one. For the Jews in Leningrad, this also meant reconfiguring their understanding of their extreme form of being, faced with the threat of total annihilation. Taking into account the crisis of representation – that is the limitations of the language available for describing such a traumatic experience –, this research includes an analysis of blockade poems by Pavel Zaltsman and Gennady Gore. My analysis of their experience, which is expressed through alternative poetic discourse, opens up the possibility of studying additional modes of representing trauma, as well as ways in which Leningrad Jews morally resisted anti-Semitism and symbolic death.