Kevin Ostoyich

Kevin Ostoyich

Valparaiso University

Prof. Kevin Ostoyich was a Visiting Fellow at AICGS in summer 2018 and was previously a Visiting Fellow at AICGS in summer 2017. He is Professor of History at Valparaiso University, where he served as the chair of the history department from 2015 to 2019. He holds his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to moving to Valparaiso, he taught at the University of Montana. He has served as a Research Associate at the Harvard Business School and an Erasmus Fellow at the University of Notre Dame. He currently is an associate of the Center for East Asian Studies of the University of Chicago, a board member of the Sino-Judaic Institute, and an inaugural member of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum International Advisory Board. He has published on German migration, German-American history, and the history of the Shanghai Jews.

While at AICGS, Prof. Ostoyich conducted research on his project, “The Wounds of History, the Wounds of Today: The Shanghai Jews and the Morality of Refugee Crises.” The Shanghai Jews were refugees from Nazi Europe who found haven in Shanghai, and thus escaped the Holocaust. For this project Ostoyich has interviewed many former Shanghai Jewish refugees and has conducted research at the National Archives at College Park, MD, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. At Valparaiso University he co-teaches a course titled “Historical Theatre: The Shanghai Jews,” which fuses the disciplines of history and theatre. To date, students of the course have co-written and performed two original productions based on the history of the Shanghai Jewish refugee community: Knocking on the Doors of History: The Shanghai Jews and Shanghai Carousel: What Tomorrow Will Be. In addition to his work on the Shanghai Jews, he is currently working on projects pertaining to the experiences of ordinary Germans during the bombing of Bremen, German Catholic experiences in nineteenth-century Württemberg, German Catholic migration, and U.S.-German cultural diplomacy during the first half of the twentieth century.

Click here for an article by Ostoyich on the Shanghai Jews.

He is currently trying to interview as many former Shanghailanders as possible. If you would like to be interviewed or know someone who might want to be interviewed, please contact Professor Ostoyich at

Recent Content


Lucky Soldiers

Part Four of Rubble Child’s World: Stories from Bremen’s Ruins Introduction George H. Jordan, Jr. did not like the movie Commando.[1] He made this clear to me as the Arnold …

Up from the Cellars

Part Three of Rubble Child’s World: Stories from Bremen’s Ruins Introduction In the Introduction to her outstanding work of oral history of German women who lived during the Second World …

Education for Boys

Part Two of Rubble Child’s World: Stories from Bremen’s Ruins Introduction Rand Paul was frustrated. During a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the Republican Senator …

Rubble Girls

Part One of Rubble Child’s World: Stories from Bremen’s Ruins Prelude: The End of the War Experience of a Seven-Year Old Girl I spent my seventh birthday on April 25 …

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Life and Message of Raymonde Fiol

A Call from the Past It was a Saturday in 2007. Raymonde Fiol was sitting on a sofa in her home in Las Vegas. The phone rang. She answered. The …

The Unbroken Past: From Germany to Shanghai to San Francisco

Kurt and Jeannette Nothenberg lived comfortably in the middle class in Germany raising their only child, Rudy.  Following Kristallnacht, Kurt was arrested and sent to Buchenwald, but was later released …

The Dealer’s Cards:  How Gary Sternberg Has Made the Best of Them

Gerd “Gary” Sternberg was dealt a tricky hand.  Born the son of a Protestant mother and a Jewish father in Cuxhaven, Germany on August 25, 1931, he experienced discrimination firsthand …

A Doctor’s Mission: The Life and Work of Ernst Kisch

Read the stories of other Shanghai Jews Dr. Ernst Kisch was an opera-loving Viennese physician who was imprisoned in Dachau and Buchenwald for being Jewish.  Upon his release from Buchenwald, …

Mothers: Remembering Three Women on the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Ida was terrified. She figured she would never see either her husband or brother ever again. For several days she fretted, not knowing what to do. While desperately trying to …

The Story of Bert Reiner, the Toy Maker, or: An Appreciation of the Individual Experiences of Former Shanghai Jewish Refugees

During the 1983 Christmas season, Coleco Industries, Inc. took the world by storm with a novel concept for a doll:  Each doll was unique and would be adopted by a …

A Survivor’s Luck: Reflections on Berlin and Shanghai

Harry Katz is lucky.[1] As a man who has had a life-long love of numbers, he knows the odds were stacked against him from the beginning: He was born a Jew …

Shattered by Glass: Working through Memories of Kristallnacht and Shanghai

We should learn from this story of the Shanghai Jews. But we haven’t learned.

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