Alexandra Garbarini

Alexandra Garbarini

Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 314

On Leave 2018-2019


B.A. Williams College (1994)
M.A. University of California, Los Angeles, History (1997)
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, History (2003)

Current Committees

  • Jewish Studies Program


Alexandra Garbarini received her B.A. from Williams College in 1994 and completed her doctorate in 2003 in the department of history at University of California at Los Angeles, writing a dissertation under the supervision of Saul Friedländer. Her first book, Numbered Days: Diary Writing and the Holocaust (Yale University Press, 2006) was a runner-up for the National Jewish Book Award, Holocaust category, and is the first sustained analysis by a historian of the significant ways in which European Jewish wartime diaries contribute to our understanding of the Holocaust. Drawing on an array of unpublished and published diaries from all over German-occupied Europe, Garbarini analyzes the role of diary writing within ordinary men and women’s larger struggles to cope with the unimaginable genocide as it unfolded around them. She is currently at work on a study of interwar European cultural and legal responses to mass atrocity and political violence, and their legacy for post-World War II international law and the concept of human rights.

Since the spring of 2003 she has taught at Williams College, where she offers courses on the history of the Holocaust, European Jewish history, and modern European cultural and political history.

Selected Publications


Jewish Responses to Persecution, vol. 2, 1938-1940. With Emil Kerenji, Jan Lambertz, Avinoam Patt. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2011.

Numbered Days: Diaries and the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006)
*Finalist for the 2006 National Jewish Book Award, Holocaust category

Articles, Review Essays, Encyclopedia Entries:

“Reflections on the Holocaust and Jewish History,” part of the forum on David Engel’s Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust in Jewish Quarterly Review 102, no. 1 (Winter 2012): 81-90.

“A Tale of Two Diarists: A Comparative Examination of Experiences in Eastern and Western Europe,” in the occasional paper Ghettos 1939-1945: New Research and Perspectives on Definition, Daily Life, and Survival, United States Holocaust Museum, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (2005).

“Redemptive Possibilities of Holocaust Remembrance,” Jewish Quarterly Review 97: 2 (2007): 304-313

“Holocaust Diaries,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008)

Research Interests

Modern Jewish History, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History

Theses Advised

Charlotte Kiechel, ’12 Coming of Age during the Holocaust:  Representing an Adolescence of Survival

Lily Wong, ’12 (with Scott Wong and Anne Reinhardt) – Remembering the Nanjing Massacre:  Transnationalism and Atrocity

Cristina Florea, ’10The (After)Life of a Dream: East German Children, Selfhood, and the “Socialist Personality” Before and After 1989

Emily Bruce, ’07‘These innocent tales’: Family and Nation in the Grimms’ Kinder- und Hausmärchen

Brian Van Wyck, ’07Paranoia and Policy: Otto von Bismarck and Russo-Germans Relations, 1875-1881

Kimberly Gilbert, ’06History’s Shadow: Holocaust Remembrance in the Berlin Republic, 1990-2005

Mark Esposito, 05Rex vaincra! Léon Degrelle and the Failure of the Rexist Movement

Program Connections at Williams

Jewish Studies