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Name: Judith Vöcker

PhD: History

Institution: Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Leicester

Thesis Title: The 'Generalgouvernement' under foreign law: Criminal prosecution through the German jurisdiction during Nazi occupation of Warsaw and Cracow 

Thesis Description:

The topic of my PhD project evolves around the German jurisdiction apparatus and how they treated and punished crimes committed in- and outside of ghettos by Jews, Poles and 'Ethnic Germans'. In doing so, I firstly address, what the occupiers defined as a ‘crime’ and according to which legal basis these were made applicable law. For my project, I focus on the German Court and the Special Court and their court verdicts, since these entities sentenced not only Jewish but also Polish and 'Ethnic German' criminals.

In a second step, I examine the development of court verdicts over the years of Nazi occupation in Warsaw and Cracow. In this way, I am able to show if any changes within the juridical entities occurred and why these occurred – or if they are connected to the occupation politics for the respective territories or the successful/unsuccessful of the course of the war from the German perspective. For this purpose, I discuss the occupation politics for the Generalgouvernment to reveal for which political and strategic purpose the Warsaw and Cracow Ghetto were constructed. This will be supported by comparing similar criminal offences, committed by Jews, Poles and Ethnic Germans throughout the existence in the respective ghetto. The focus lies on reconstructing the way juridical and police entities treated criminal cases and offenders from all spheres of society and to explore to what extent criminal persecution in- and outside the ghettos was influenced by the occupation tactics and policies.

My project will be able to show how citizens were treated by the punishment body depending on their nationality or religion and will ask whether clear legal regulations existed and  how being deprived of any rights affected the ghetto citizens. Thus, my research contributes to a micro history of the cities of Warsaw and Cracow under Nazi occupation, and their specific internal dynamics since ghettoisation caused a change of pre-war patterns of society and legislation. 


Supervisors and Institutions: 

Dr Svenja Bethke (University of Leicester)

Professor William Niven (Nottingham Trent University)

Dr Klaus Richter (University of Birmingham)




  • Potsdam School of Jewish Theology and Jagiellonian University Cracow: 3rd Polish-German Workshop: 'Jewish Studies and Jewish Theology', Potsdam, October 24-28th 2018. Conference paper: Crime and criminal prosecution in the Warsaw Ghetto.
  • Jewish Historical Institute and EHRI: Research and Preservation of the Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw, December 6th 2018. Conference paper: Crime and criminality as part of everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto.


  • German Historical Institute London: 23rd Postgraduate Students Conference, January 10-11th 2019, London (UK). Conference paper: Criminal prosecution in the Warsaw, Cracow and Riga Ghettos through German juridical entities during World War II.

  • Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London, January 22nd 2019. Paper: Criminal prosecution through German juridical entities in the cities of Warsaw, Cracow and Riga.


  • with Dr Clara Frysztacka: The ambivalences in Europe, the Balkan in the history of the Europeanisation, in: Südosteuropa Mitteilungen [Notes on Southeast Europe], Vol. 1, 2018: pp. 200-215.

External Awards:

  • 2018/2019: EHRI Fellowship at the Jewish Historical Institute and the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
  • 2019: Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Dallas in Texas, Zsuzsanna Ozsváth Junior Scholars Grant
  • 2019: German History Society travel grant

Research Interests:

  • The Holocaust in Poland and the Soviet Union
  • History of the Third Reich
  • Stalinism
  • Imperial Russia


  • American Association for Slavonic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
  • British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES)
  • British Association for Holocaust Studies
  • German History Society
  • German Society for Studies of Eastern Europe (DGO)

University email address:




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