PhD Position (4 Years, 1.0 FTE) ‘Provinzenjudung: Local Socio-cultural dynamics and the Holocaust in The Netherlands’ (1925-1950)

PhD Position (4 Years, 1,0 FTE) ‘Provinzentjudung: Local Socio-cultural dynamics and the Holocaust in The Netherlands’ (1925-1950)

Job description

The section Political History of the department of History and Art History of Utrecht University is looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a background in contemporary history and a particular interest in the study of modern conflict and mass violence. The candidate will work on the interconnectedness of socio-cultural dynamics and the Nazi-persecution of Jews in Dutch local communities outside the urban centers of Western Holland.

For this project we are also looking for a PhD student to carry out research into local political dynamics. At a later stage a Postdoc candidate, based at the faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will complete the research team.

The Project
Over a third of the approximately 104,000 deported Dutch Jews came from small towns and villages. While academic literature presents the Holocaust in the Netherlands as a linear, streamlined Nazi-attack on Jews, centered in Amsterdam and other big cities of Western Holland, a plethora of new local studies indicates local differentiations. However, their scope is restricted as they fail to come up with a more comparative or general analysis. The aim of our research project is to reconstruct the ‘Provinzentjudung’, understood as the persecution of Jews outside the urban centers of Western Holland, and to clarify how local, communal dynamics intersected with patterns of persecution.

To achieve this goal, we intend to investigate a carefully chosen selection of provincial towns between 1925 and 1950, combining close-up research with comparative analysis and Digital Humanities methods of data analysis and visualization. This integrative approach will enable us to explain the entanglement of local history and the genocidal process, the role of local actors, and the impact of (inter)communal networks on Jewish escape.

We are seeking as per 1 February 2023 a PhD student for subproject 2, ‘The ties of traditions: local socio-cultural patterns and the Holocaust in the Netherlands (1925-1950)’. This subproject will study the Provinzentjudung in its local, socio-cultural embedment. The focus is on Jewish-gentile relations within local communities. It aims to clarify the impact of pre-existing local social structures and cultural customs on the course of the genocide, and, vice versa, the impact of the persecution on local societies.

In subproject 2, the candidate will carry out a comprehensive study of a wide selection of ego-documents to reconstruct individual contacts. Additionally, they/she/he will tap little studied archival collections, such as the archives of the Dutch Lawn Tennis League and the Royal Dutch Football Association and their local sections to reconstruct how these organizations reacted at the different measures of different key-moments, and when and to what extent they offered ‘protection’ to their Jewish members. The research will include the question of postwar return, restoration, and social integration of Jewish locals.

The candidate will be part of a research team of a fellow PhD student and a postdoc with whom they/she/he will jointly work. The team is led by senior scholars and the candidate will benefit from their expertise and networks, both in- and outside the academia. Within the UU, the candidate will be embedded in the section of Political History and the expert-group Conflict and Violence, offering a superb, yet ‘safe’ surrounding to present and discuss findings. An Academic Advisory Board of renowned international scholars will guard over the scientific soundness of the work. The candidate will be encouraged to publish and present preliminary findings, abroad and at home, and to participate in the public activities we will organize for international scholarly audiences and the Dutch public at large.

The candidate will enroll in the PhD training program of the Dutch National Research School Political History (RSPH/OPG).


We expect candidates to have:

  • Completed or be close to completing a degree in a Humanities or Social Sciences Master’s program
  • An excellent track-record in (undergraduate) historical research
  • Proven affinity with the study of political violence and modern political conflict: a specific interest in the history of the Holocaust or other genocides is desirable
  • Good social and communication skills
  • Excellent command of English and academic writing skills
  • (Preferably) working Dutch language skills

The department is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We welcome employees who contribute to the diversity of our faculty through their unique backgrounds and perspectives.

Conditions of Employment

We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of 18 months. Upon a good performance and positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total). Employment will become effective on 1 February 2023 or, by mutual agreement, shortly thereafter.

The gross salary ranges between €2.541 in the first year and €3.247 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information on working at Utrecht University can be found here.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a historic centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its centuries-old university. Utrecht has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands, and is well-connected to local and international transport hubs.

The section Political History currently has about 20 colleagues who study political developments from the early modern period until the present day. It has a particular interest in a comparative perspective on long-term developments, and to connect the past with present-day political issues. Currently, main themes of teaching and research are the history of democracy, revolution, political ideas and ideologies, nationalism and (ethnic) violence, and political activism – all with a strong emphasis on Western Europe.

Additional information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Geraldien von Frijtag ( or Prof. dr. Ido de Haan (


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