Kimberly Cheng

Visiting Fellow

German Historical Institute Washington
1607 New Hampshire Ave NW | Washington DC 20009

Biographical Summary

Kimberly Cheng joins the GHI Washington as a postdoctoral research fellow in Fall 2022. Kimberly is a migration specialist, trained in Modern Jewish History, the Holocaust, and Modern Chinese History. Her research broadly centers around encounters between Jewish and Chinese populations in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Kimberly received her PhD from the Joint PhD Program in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History at New York University in 2022. Her dissertation focused on Central European Jewish refugee migration to China during World War II. In particular, she examined the way the history and legacy of semi-colonialism in China impacted the interactions between Jewish refugees and their Chinese neighbors in the multi-ethnic metropolis of Shanghai. Her research unpacked the ways Jewish refugees negotiated their status as neither colonizers nor colonized in semi-colonial Shanghai, revealing the crucial power dynamics that underlay the vast cultural differences between the Jewish refugee and Chinese populations. In the summer of 2022, Kimberly co-convened the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum research workshop, “The Holocaust and Asia: Refugees, Memory, and Material Culture.” Previously, her research was supported by the USC Shoah Foundation, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

As a GHI fellow, Kimberly will research Chinese life in Germany during the Third Reich and its immediate aftermath. Her current project seeks to untangle the varying conceptions of citizenship, foreignness, class, gender, and sexuality that factored into the racialization of Chinese people in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Specifically, her work will survey the types of daily life encounters that Chinese people shared with Germans and German Jews on the ground. Her article on the topic entitled, “The Trial of Lam See-Woh: Chinese Men and German Women in Hamburg, 1933—1947,” is forthcoming in the February 2023 German Studies Review.

Main Areas of Interest

  • Migration
  • Transnational History
  • Modern Europe
  • German Jewish History
  • History the Holocaust and National Socialism
  • Modern Chinese History
  • Memory Studies