About me

As a researcher in the field of Soviet History I became convinced that individuals can shape the memory of war and violence. It is a task of civil society to create an official Memory that does not conceal suffering and at the same time enables exchange about this past between the conflict sides.  

Storytelling and Oral History are important tools in this endeavor. The cross-conflict-line exchange of genuine experiences creates empathy and a realistic understanding between the sides. 

For twenty years I worked in various conflict settings, creating spaces for dialogue and conflict transformation. While the post soviet regions are my main region of expertise I have gained considerable experience in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

Portrait by Caro Hoene

For support and cooperation I rely on a sustainable network of international experts. 


Key qualifications:

  • Historian and Slavist, research focus: History and Memory in Conflict, Soviet History 
  • Trainer and cross-conflict-line dialogue-facilitator
  • Project-manager and coordinator
  • Experience in project-development, proposal-writing and project evaluation
  • Working experience in Russia (since 1995), Ukraine, Georgia, Myanmar, Armenia, India, Bangladesh, in-depth knowledge of Abkhazia
  • Experience in practice and teaching of qualitative methods
  • Translator and interpreter for Russian (from and into German and English) 


2011: PhD in Eastern European History earned at the University of Konstanz, Germany (Magna cum laude)

"Die Historisierung der Belagerung Leningrads in der Sowjetunion 1943 – 1953. Geschichtsbilder zwischen politischen Strukturen und Zeitzeugenschaft.“

2000: Masters in Eastern European History and Slavistics at Freie Universität Berlin.

Additional Training:

06/2017: Trauma sensitivity in Peace Work (2 day in-house learning) Berghof Foundation, by Regina Miehling.

11/2016: Mediation Training (3 day in-house learning) Berghof Foundation, by Jose Pascal Da Rocha.

07/2009: Project-planning and – evaluation (4 day training) OWEN Berlin.

05/2003: Interview- and Biography Analysis (2 day training) by Prof. Dr. Fritz Schütze at the Independent Social Research Centre, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.

04/2002: Analysis of Narrative Interviews  (3 day training) by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Rosenthal at Quatext, Berlin.

02-04/1996: Interview-training Narrative Interviews (6 day training) by Roswitha Breckner, Berlin

Selected Publications

Monography and Editing:

“Changing the past in our heads” A facilitator’s guide to listening workshops. Eds. Zemskov-Züge, A.; Wolleh, O., Berlin: Berghof Foundation, 2018. 

“Zwischen politischen Strukturen und Zeitzeugenschaft“. Geschichtsbilder zur Belagerung Leningrads in der Sowjetunion 1943–1953 (Monographie), Göttingen, 2012.

Published Papers since 2015:

"Which past? Whose justice?Towards a broader approach to history and memory in conflict" in: Forum ZFD (ed.): Politike izgradnje mira u regionu: opterećenja prošlosti i vizije budućnosti Politics of building peace in the region: Burdens from the past and visions for the future, Sarajevo, 2019 pp.55-61.

“Contrary Memories: Basis, Chances and Constraints of Dealing with the Past in Georgian-Abkhaz Dialogue.” In: Relitz, Sebastian (Hrsg.): Obstacles and Opportunities for Dialogue and Cooperation in Protracted Conflicts. Corridors Proceedings Vol. I. Regensburg: IOS, 2018, S. 151-166.

“Theory of change: Towards peace-supporting narratives” in: “Changing the past in our heads” A facilitator’s guide to listening workshops. Berlin: Berghof Foundation, 2018, S.11-15. 

“Facilitating listening workshops” in: “Changing the past in our heads” A facilitator’s guide to listening workshops. Berlin: Berghof Foundation, 2018, S.18-28. 

Dealing with the Past in the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict. The Power of Narratives, Spaces and Rituals in: Austin, B. & Fischer, M. (Eds.): Transforming War-Related Identities. Individual and Social Approaches to Healing and Dealing with the Past. 2016. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 11, pp. 51-58.

„History Dialogue between Georgians and Abkhaz:How Can Working with the Past Pave New Ways?” In: Politorbis No.60-2-2015, S.23-29.


German: native language

Russian: business fluent, excellent spoken and written

English: business fluent, very good spoken and written

Czech: basic knowledge (good reading and listening)

French: basic knowledge (good reading and listening)


Professional Experience

1995– present: freelance work as trainer, consultant, consecutive interpreter, translator and lecturer.  

2012 – 12/2017: Berghof Foundation, Caucasus Program, Project Manager (dialogue facilitation, design of curricula, development of methods, training, project management) in the projects:

Through History Dialogue to Future cooperation”

„From Trialogue to sustainable Dialogue“

„Stories matter, Intergenerational Abkhaz Dialogue“

„Peace Counts“ 

2015: OWEN and ifa, trainer for IDP and local population in diverse Ukrainian communities (as freelancer)

„The future needs remembering: Ukrainian Dialogue about History and Memory in Lviv and Vinnica, Ukraine“

2000– 2012: NGO OWEN, Berlin project manager, trainer and consultant (partly freelance, partly employed), deputy chair (2010-2012)

2002– 2006 and 2012: European University St. Petersburg, Russia consultant and associate research fellow at the University’s Oral History Center, lecturer at the Faculty of Sociology at the State University St. Petersburg, Russia 

As a freelancer I have worked for:

OWEN, Berlin

inmedio, Berlin, 

Culture for Peace, Berlin 

ADA Austrian Development Agency, Vienna

Stiftung evz, Berlin

ifa, Stuttgart

Goethe Institut Kolkata, Indien and Dhaka, Bangladesh, St. Petersburg, Russia

Ce-Dis Interview-Archiv, FU Berlin

Filimon-Film, Amsterdam

Ludwig Wolker Haus, Berlin

Siemens-Archiv, Munich

Centre for independent Social Research, St. Petersburg

Max Planck Institute, Berlin

Memorial, St. Petersburg

Centre for the Integration of women's studies, State University St. Petersburg

Friedrich Meinecke Institut, Prof. Volker Fadinger, FU Berlin

Osteuropa Institut, FU Berlin

Prenzlauer Berg

Museum, Berlin