Professor Hannah Holtschneider (FHEA)

Professor of Contemporary Jewish Cultural History, Director of Research


Hannah Holtschneider joined the University of Edinburgh in 2005, following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations and the University of Cambridge. She is a cultural historian of twentieth-century Jewish history, with a particular focus on the consequences of the Holocaust, Jewish identities, and Jewish/non-Jewish relations.

Hannah is the author of 'The Holocaust and Representations of Jews: History and Identity in the Museum' (Routledge 2011), 'German Protestants Remember the Holocaust: Theology and the Construction of Collective Memory' (Lit. Verlag 2001), and 'Jewish Orthodoxy in Scotland: Rabbi Dr Salis Daiches and Religious Leadership' (EUP 2019), as well as numerous articles . From 2015-2018, she was PI of a major AHRC-funded project on Jewish migration to Scotland.


MPhil (Trinity College Dublin, 1995).

PgDip (University of Oxford, 1996).

PhD (University of Birmingham, 2000).

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (since 2003).

Responsibilities & affiliations

School of Divinity Director of Research (2021- )

Founding co-convenor of the Edinburgh Jewish Studies Network.

Affiliate member of the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History.


External Roles

Founding committee Member of British & Irish Association for Holocaust Studies.

Co-editor of Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History.

Member of the Weinstein Holocaust Symposium, held biannually at Wroxton College, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome applications from students with a strong academic background in Jewish Studies or another relevant Humanities discipline.

My own expertise primarily lies in the following areas:

  • Holocaust history, representation and memorialisation
  • Jewish migration & transnational Jewish history (in the 20th century)
  • Jewish religion and culture with a focus on Germany and the UK

In addition to these areas of expertise, joint supervision with colleagues in other Subject Areas in the School of Divinity is possible, as well as co-supervision arrangements with colleagues in other Schools of the University. For a list of staff with a research interest in Jewish Studies, see the Edinburgh Jewish Studies Network webpage. The Jewish Studies Network offers opportunities for graduate students to network within the University of Edinburgh, and with staff and students at other Scottish and northern English universities, and participate in a series of events across the academic year.

For more information please see the Jewish Studies research area page.

Current PhD students supervised

  • Samuel Jacobs, The post-way political theology of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (joint supervisor 50%, Joshua Ralston 50%)
  • Abra Cohen, Judaica in Scotland (SGSAH-CDA studentship) (joint supervisor 50%, Mia Spiro, University of Glasgow 50%, Calum Robertson, National Museums Scotland)
  • James Carrigy, The cinematic decontextualization of Jewish spaces in the aftermath of WWII in Central Europe (principal supervisor 70%, )
  • Elisa Koch, Fragile Bodies, Fragile Boundaries: A Comparative Theological Approach to Vulnerability (assistant supervisor 30%, Ulrich Schmiedel 70%)
  • Cian Pappenheim (University of Glasgow), Mapping Memorial Books: Tracing the Commemorative Legacy of Yiddish Yizkor Books (SGSAH-funded) (assistant supervisor 25%, Mia Spiro 50%, Ernest Schonfeld 25%)

Past PhD students supervised

  • Claire Aubin, PhD Religious Studies 2023 (principal supervisor) 

  • Sophie Bayer, PhD Religious Studies 2023 (joint supervisor)

  • Katarina Ockova, PhD Social Anthropology 2019, (assistant supervisor).

  • Lizzy Robinson-Self, PhD German Studies 2019 (assistant supervisor).

  • Louise Gramstrup, PhD Religious Studies 2017 (principal supervisor).

  • Ryan Tafilowski, PhD Theology 2017 (principal supervisor).

  • Katie Leggett, PhD Theology 2014 (assistant supervisor).
  • Sami Helewa, PhD Religious Studies, 2012 (principal supervisor).

  • Ritske Rensma, PhD Religious Studies, 2008 (assistant supervisor).

  • Clare Dowling-Macdonad, MSc by Research, Theology 2015 (principal supervisor).
  • Maria Güther, MSc by Research, Cultural Studies 2013 (assistant supervisor).
  • Konrad Matyjaszek, MSc by Research, Architecture 2012 (co-supervisor).

Research summary

I am a cultural historian of contemporary Jewish history. The focus of my work is the Shoah / Holocaust and its aftermath, particularly the long-term effect of the Holocaust on families, and the representation of the Holocaust and Jews in a variety of cultural media. My wider research interests include early twentieth century Jewish history in Britain and Germany, and Jewish migration history. 

Current Research

Personal Archives and Holocaust Historiography

The discovery of the large family archive of Dorrith Sim, née Oppenheim, at the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre is at the heart of this project. The collection extends from the late eighteenth century into the present and contains genealogical information, letters, poetry, recipes, photographs, medical instruments, clothing, medals, cutlery and other ephemera and material objects. The Dorrith Sim Collection is an example of the personal collections which are increasingly coming to light as the generation of refugees and survivors dies and their descendants engage with what is left behind. In this project, I explore whether collections such as that of the Oppenheim family, offer the opportunity to uncover a distinctive perspective on the events of the Holocaust which is seen neither in macro-histories where letters may appear as illustrations of larger processes, nor in post-war testimony which remembers and narrates rescue efforts with hindsight. What is the value of such collections for wider historiographical debates within Holocaust Studies? How does such material relate to other contemporary sources, and to testimony given much later? Do they matter beyond footnotes and illustrations?

In progress 2023-2025: 'Personal documents and ephemera as sources for interdisciplinary Holocaust scholarship', special issue for Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History co-edited with Amy Simon (Michigan State University).


Contemporary Jews and Judaism (book project contracted to Routledge’s Religions in Focus series)

This book explores varieties of Jewish lived realities across the globe at different times. The study of religion is introduced through the study of Jews, uniting a focus on case studies of Jewish culture and religion in particular contexts with reflection on approaches to studying these in the framework of the field of religious studies. Contemporary Jews and Judaism takes a novel approach to the presentation and analysis of Judaism by beginning in the midst of the messiness of the everyday life of Jewish people. From this unique vantage point, more akin to the work of ethnography and anthropology, an analytical framework is developed to allow the interpretation of that which is witnessed. The student of religious studies will thus begin to understand the interplay between the lived reality of a religious tradition and its academic study, by testing both: their ability to access the actuality of a lived tradition and the analytical categories established in the academy to shape and interpret the lived reality of the tradition.


Past Research

Jewish Lives, Scottish Spaces: Jewish Migration to Scotland, 1880-1950 (AHRC funded 2015-2018)

As Jews in Scotland moved between and within, into and out of local and transnational spaces, the objects they saved, used and created reveal how Jews self-identified as they negotiated issues such as antisemitism, assimilation, cultural loss, memory and the Holocaust, nationalism and belonging. The materiality of such Scottish Jewish ‘memory objects’ testifies to the visibility of aspects of the past in the immediate environment of people’s new lives in Scotland. The location and placement of these items within a Scottish landscape offers a rich ground for the investigation of various processes of cultural transition and provides a link to the study of the city and Jewish space, thus making the best use of the available archival resources and material evidence. This project drew primarily on the collections of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (SJAC), the largest and continually growing repository of items relating to Jewish migration to and life in Scotland. Other relevant primary sources are located in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, the Edinburgh and Glasgow City Archives, the National Library of Scotland and the National Records of Scotland.

Knowledge exchange

You can find regular updates about my research and knowledge exchange/impact activities here: and at

Affiliated research centres

Past project grants

2015-2018: 'Jewish Lives, Scottish Spaces: Jewish Migration to Scotland, 1880-1950' (PI, AHRC funded).

View all 32 publications on Research Explorer