Gabriel Finder

Associate Professor of German

Gabriel Finder arrived at UVA in 2001. He teaches in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and served as the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies from 2011 to 2019. Finder practiced law for five years, mostly in Israel, before embarking on an academic career. He teaches various Holocaust-related courses and German Jewish history and culture. His research interests include the Holocaust, Jewish rebuilding in its aftermath, Jewish cultural responses to the Holocaust, and Holocaust-related trials. He enjoys combining his interests in law on the one hand and Jewish history and culture on the other in both his writing and teaching.

He is coeditor with Laura Jockusch of Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015), which was named a 2016 National Jewish Book Award finalist in the Holocaust category by the Jewish Book Council, and he has recently completed a book manuscript, Justice Behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland, coauthored with Alexander Prusin, for the University of Toronto Press. Finder is currently at work on a book manuscript whose working title is Moment of Reckoning: Inside the Jewish Honor Court in Poland after the Holocaust, which is under contract with Wayne State University Press. Finder concludes his introductory course on the Holocaust with a section on postwar trials, and he teaches a separate course called “The Holocaust and the Law,” in which the class examines, among other things, the Nuremberg Trial, the Eichmann Trial, and the Auschwitz Trial. Finder is totally committed to teaching and writing about the Holocaust and its aftermath, but also enjoys a change of pace occasionally. Finder was raised in a family that possessed a rich repertoire of Jewish jokes from the old country, inspiring him to create a course on Jewish humor, which is both a reflection of and testimony to the genius of Jewish popular culture. Parallel to the course he initiated an anthology, coedited with Eli Lederhendler, which was recently published under the A Club of their Own: Jewish Humorists and the Contemporary World (Studies in Contemporary Jewry 29) (Oxford University Press, 2016). With his colleagues David Slucki and Avinoam Patt, he is now preparing an edited volume on humor created and performed in the aftermath of the Holocaust whose preliminary title is "I’m Allowed . . . I’m Jewish: Humor after the Holocaust for Wayne State University Press." In short, teaching animates and reinforces his research and vice-versa.


  • University of Chicago, M.A., 1990, Ph.D. 1997
  • University of Pennsylvania, J.D., 1984
  • Brandeis University, B.A., 1978


Research interests lie in German and East European Jewish history and culture, the Holocaust, memory of the Holocaust, post-Holocaust trials, the reconstruction of Jewish life after 1945, and relations between Jews and non-Jews in postwar Europe. Classes include

  • Elementary Yiddish Language and Culture (YIDD 1050 and YIDD 1060)
  • German Jewish History and Culture (GETR 3372 /HIEU 3372/ RELJ 3372)
  • German Jewish Thinkers (GETR 3559/RELJ 3559)
  • The Holocaust (GETR 3692/HIEU 3692)
  • The Holocaust and the Law (GETR 3559/HIEU 3559)


Making Holocaust Memory (Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 20), coedited with Natalia Aleksiun, Antony Polonsky, and Jan Schwarz (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008).

Book Manuscripts in Progress

A Tangled Web: Jews, Poles, and the Afterlife of the Holocaust, 1945-1968 (estimated date of completion, 2012).

Humor in Jewish Culture (Studies in Contemporary Jewry: An Annual 29), ed. Eli Lederhendler and Gabriel N. Finder (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015).


“Warschau Main Camp,” in The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, volume 1:Early Camps, Youth Camps, and Concentration Camps and Subcamps under the SS-Business Administration Main Office (WVHA), Part B, ed. Geoffrey P. Megargee (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2009), 511-15.

“‘Boxing for Everyone’: Jewish DPs, Sports, and Boxing,” in Jews and the Sporting Life (Studies in Contemporary Jewry: An Annual 23), ed. Ezra Mendelsohn (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 36-53.

“Yizkor! Commemoration of the Dead by Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany,” in Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany, ed.            Alon Confino, Paul Betts, and Dirk Schumann (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008), 232-57.

“Żydowski obóz pracy w Warszawie po powstaniu w getcie (1943-1944),” Midrasz: Pismo Żydowskie 4 (132) (April 2008): 22-29 (condensed Polish translation of “Jewish Prisoner Labour in Warsaw after the Ghetto Uprising, 1943-1944”).

“Sportcajtung,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon David Hundert (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 1800.
“Honor Courts,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon David Hundert (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 751-53.

“Jewish Collaborators on Trial in Poland, 1944-1956,” in Making Holocaust Memory (Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 20), ed. Gabriel Finder, Natalia Aleksiun, Antony Polonsky, and Jan Schwarz (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008), 122-48.

“Memento Mori: Photographs from the Grave,” coauthor with Judith R. Cohen, in Making Holocaust Memory (Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 20), ed. Gabriel Finder, Natalia Aleksiun, Antony Polonsky, and Jan Schwarz (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008), 55-73.

“Introduction” to Making Holocaust Memory (Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 20), ed. Gabriel Finder, Natalia Aleksiun, Antony Polonsky, and Jan Schwarz (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008), 3-54.

“The Criminal and his Analysts: Psychoanalytic Criminology in Weimar Germany and the First          Austrian Republic,” in Criminals and their Scientists: The History of Criminology in International Perspective, ed. Peter Becker and Richard F. Wetzell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006): 447-69.

“Proces Szepsla Rotholca a polityka kary w następstwie Zagłady,” Zagłada Żydów: Studia i materiały 2 (2006): 221-41 (Polish translation of “The Trial of Shepsl Rotholc and the Politics of Retribution in the Aftermath of the Holocaust”).

“The Trial of Shepsl Rotholc and the Politics of Retribution in the Aftermath of the Holocaust,” Gal-Ed: On the History and Culture of Polish Jewry 20 (2006): 63-89 (English section).           

“‘Sweep out Evil from Your Midst’: The Jewish People’s Court in Postwar Poland,” in Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution (Proceedings of the International Conference, London, 29-31 January 2003), ed. Johannes-Dieter Steinert and Inge Weber-Newth (Osnabrück, Germany: Secolo Verlag, 2005): 269-79.

“Jewish Prisoner Labour in Warsaw after the Ghetto Uprising, 1943-1944,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 17 (2004): 325-51.

“Collaboration in Eastern Galicia: The Ukrainian Police and the Holocaust,” coauthor with Alexander Prusin, East European Jewish Affairs 34, no. 2 (2004): 95-118.

“Der Fall Vukobrankovics: Begutachtung und Verturteilung einer Verbrecherin um 1920,” Kriminologisches Journal 26 (1994): 47-69.

Forthcoming Articles and Book Chapters

“Überlebende Kinder im kollektiven Gedächtnis der polnischen Jüdinnen und Juden nach dem Holocaust: Das Beispiel Undzere Kinder,” in Asal Darden, Claudia Bruns, and Anette Dietrich., eds., “Welchen der Steine du hebst”: Filmische Erinnerung an den Holocaust (Berlin: Bertz + Fischer Verlag, forthcoming 2011).

“The Place of Child Survivors in Jewish Collective Memory after the Holocaust: The Case of Undzere Kinder,” in Nurturing the Nation: Displaced Children in Europe and the USSR, 1918-1953, ed. Nick Baron (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming 2012).

“The Medicalization of Wilhelmine and Weimar Juvenile Justice Reconsidered,” in Crime and         Criminal Justice in Modern Germany, 1870-1960, ed. Richard F. Wetzell (New York: Berghahn Books, forthcoming 2012).

“From Brzeżany to Afula—A Child’s Journey from Prewar Poland to Israel in the 1950s: A Conversation with Shimon Redlich,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 27 (forthcoming).

“Polish-Jewish Relations in the Communist Period,” coauthor with Ewa Koźmińska-Frejlak, Gal-Ed: On the History and Culture of Polish Jewry (forthcoming).

Book Reviews

 “Robert Blobaum, ed., Antisemitism and its Opponents in Modern Poland,” in Gal-Ed: On the History and Culture of Polish Jewry 21 (2007): 179-84 (Hebrew section).

“Antony Polonsky and Joanna B. Michlic, eds., The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland,” inEuropean History Quarterly 36, no. 2 (2006): 327-29.

“Joshua D. Zimmerman, ed., Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its Aftermath,” in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73, no. 1 (2005): 284-87.

“Gunnar S. Paulsson, Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945,” in East European Politics and Societies 18, no. 2 (2004): 342-47; 18, no. 3 (2004): 558 (erratum).

“David Brenner, Marketing Identities: The Invention of Jewish Ethnicity in Ost und West,” in Association of Jewish Studies Review 25, no. 1 (2000/2001): 155-58.

“George Robb and Nancy Erber, eds., Disorder in the Court: Trials and Sexual Conflict at the Turn of the Century,” in Journal of Modern History 73 (2001): 401-3.

“Richard J. Evans, Tales from the German Underworld: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth Century,” in Journal of Modern History72 (2000): 249-50.

“Norbert Finzsch and Robert Jutte, eds., Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500-1950,” in Journal of Modern History 71 (1999): 664-67.

“Hugo Munsterberg, Unspoken Bequest: The Contribution of German Jews to German Culture,” in The Historian 59 (1997): 931-32.

“Richard Lawrence Miller, Nazi Justiz: Law of the Holocaust,” in The Historian 59 (1997): 472-73.

“Eric A. Johnson, Urbanization and Crime: Germany, 1871-1914,” in American Journal of Sociology 102 (1996): 622-24.

Awards, Grants, and Honors

American Council of Learned Societies, East European Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2000-1.

Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Fellowship, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000-1.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Samuel and Flora Weiss Research Fellowship, 2007-8.

Research Support in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, University of Virginia, 2009.