Daniel Jerke


Since March 2022, I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Vienna. Previously, I worked as a school assistant at a secondary school in Kiel. I did my BA in European Studies with a focus on social sciences at Chemnitz University of Technology, followed by a MA in Migration and Diversity at Kiel University. As a student, I spent one semester respectively at Silesian University in Katowice and Adam Mickewicz University in Poznań. Additionally, I did numerous placements, e.g. at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw and the street paper “Hempels” in Kiel.

Research interests: I take an interest in the history and sociology of migration, particularly that of asylum seeking and Polish migration. Moreover, my research deals with Oral History and interviewing techniques.

Current research project: Transnationale Biographien: Migrationsverläufe polnischer Asylbewerber_innen zwischen Polen, Deutschland, Österreich und Nordamerika nach 1968 [Transnational biographies: Patterns of migration of Polish asylum seekers between Poland, Germany, Austria and North America after 1968]
Nowadays, it is almost forgotten that Polish citizens constituted a major group of asylum seekers in the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria from the late seventies to the early nineties. For example, between 1979 and 1993 132,229 applications for asylum were submitted by Poles in (West) Germany alone. Unfortunately, we know quite little about the whereabouts of those people today. There is evidence that some of them remained on the spot while others migrated overseas, especially to the United States and Canada. Later on, some of them seemed to have returned to transforming Poland. We only know for sure that they all were facing multiple possibilities where to go and what to do in a world changing fast. For my dissertation, I track down these former asylum seekers in order to interview them about their life and their migration. What were the decisions they made? Why did they make them? What do they think about their lives and their migration in hindsight? What do they think about the countries they live(d) in? Finding answers to these questions could help us to find out how former refugees assess the challenges they went through and to reconstruct their perspective on their own lives for a better understanding of the present.