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Personal profile


Dr. Daniel Kupfert Heller is the Kronhill Senior Lecturer in East European Jewish History at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. His areas of research specialization are East European Jewish history, the history of humanitarian aid and international development, and the history of Zionism and modern Israel. 

Daniel received his PhD in 2012 from Stanford University, where he was awarded the annual prize for best written dissertation in the History Department. Before arriving at Monash, he was an assistant professor at McGill University, offering courses related to East European Jewish History, Israel and the Middle East. In recognition for his outstanding teaching, he received the 2016 H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Distinguished Teaching, awarded annually to one professor in McGill University’s Faculty of Arts. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded annually to one assistant professor across all faculties in McGill University.

Daniel’s first book, Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism, appeared in August 2017 with Princeton University Press. Drawing upon original research in Polish, Israeli and American archives, the book explores the decisive influence of Polish Jews and Polish politics on right-wing Zionist attitudes towards democracy and approaches to the use of force. Recovering the voices of ordinary Polish Jewish youth through their letters, diaries and autobiographies, the study also paints a vivid portrait of their turbulent lives on the eve of the Holocaust. Jabotinsky’s Children was the recipient of Association for Jewish Studies' Jordan Schnitzer Award in the category of Modern Jewish History and Culture: Europe and Israel. 

Daniel is currently working on his second book project, which explores the politics of Israeli aid programs for women in sub-Saharan Africa during the Cold War era. Set against the backdrop of decolonization and the Arab-Israeli conflict, it examines how African women’s lives were impacted by Israeli development aid, and how they struggled to shape the design and delivery of interventions made in their name.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • East European Jewish History
  • History of Zionism and the State of Israel
  • History of Humanitarian Aid and International Development