Lilia Tomchuk

Lilia Tomchuk is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She is a native speaker of Ukrainian and Russian and her research interests include the Holocaust in occupied Ukraine, gender and sexuality history, and the history of childhood. Currently, Tomchuk is working on her dissertation, “Shades of Agency – Choice, Survival and Resistance of Jewish Women During the Holocaust in Transnistria” under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Sybille Steinbacher.

In her dissertation, Tomchuk examines the agency of Jewish women in different contexts and under varying and changing conditions during the Holocaust in Romanian-occupied Transnistria. Her project addresses key dimensions of women’s agency, such as the female body and sexuality, relationships (love and friendship), and cultural, religious, and medical activities. Identifying and analyzing women’s decisions and actions illuminate these Jewish women as agents and historical subjects, shifting away from the traditional narrative that considers women and children passive victims of the Holocaust.

Tomchuk received her MA in Secondary Education with dual specialization in History and Spanish from The Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main in 2019. Her MA on sexual violence against Jewish women in Ukraine (1941–1945) was based on testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation and received an award from the Fritz Bauer Institute. From 2020 to 2022, she held the Jürg Breuninger Doctoral Scholarship at the Fritz Bauer Institute. Tomchuk has also been awarded fellowships and research grants from several institutions, including the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (USHMM), the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research, the German-Ukrainian Historians’ Commission, and Yad Vashem.

Her article on the everyday life of Ukrainian Jewish children in the Zhmerinka Ghetto is forthcoming in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and another publication on Roma women’s recollections of helping Jews during the Holocaust in Transnistria will be published in the edited volume Micro-Historical Perspectives on an Integrated History of the Holocaust (De Gruyter).