Lena Clara Christoph

(c) Porträt von Lena Clara Christoph





ERC Project

Lena Christoph is a doctoral researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna and part of the ERC research group GLORE – “Global Resettlement Regimes: Ambivalent Lessons Learned from the Postwar (1945-1951)”. She studied International Development (BA) and History (MA), majoring in global and contemporary history, at the University of Vienna as well as at the Monash University, Melbourne. In her master´s thesis Anti-Imperialist Solidarity in the International War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam she engaged with the Russell Tribunal (1967) and examined the citizens’ tribunal as an example of international solidarity activism against the war in Vietnam. For the thesis, Lena Christoph received the Vienna Global History scholarship. In 2024, she is a Doctoral Research Fellow of the German Historical Institute, Washington D.C.

Research interests: Global history; Refugee Regimes; Post-conflict justice, memory, and reconciliation; Theory and praxis of political solidarity; Anti-colonial thought, activism, and connection

Current research project: The Philippines as a Place of Transit and Destination. Jewish, Russian, and Chinese Displaced Persons in Search of Old and New Homes, 1945-1955

This doctoral research deals with the repatriation and resettlement of displaced persons (DPs) from and to the Philippines between 1945 and 1952. World War II had displaced millions of people in the European and Asian war theatre. In the postwar era, the newly found UN refugee organisations UNRRA and IRO as well as other refugee organisations took responsibility for the care and resettlement, that is, of the negotiations with potential host countries, the screening, and transportation of DPs. In this context of postwar refugee and resettlement regime, the Philippines have been an overlooked place of transit as well as country of destination for refugees. Specifically, this includes Jewish Holocaust refugees, who had been taken in before the Japanese occupation; ‘White’ Russians, who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution to China and found refuge in the Pacific country during the Chinese Civil War; as well as overseas Chinese, who desired to return to the Philippines after being displaced during the Pacific War. In a comparative manner, the thesis aims to juxtapose the three different DP groups by analysing the different reactions of governments towards the refugees, the process and outcome of the negotiations, as well as the resettlement experience of the DPs themselves. By combining meta-, microanalytical, and digital humanity tools, the research seeks to give insight into refugee stories embedded in a bigger picture of the post-war resettlement regime from an Asian-Pacific perspective.