headshot photo of Dr. Shira Klein

Dr. Shira Klein

Associate Professor
Fellow, Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of History
Office Location: Roosevelt Hall 134
Office Hours: T/TH 11:30a-12:30p
Phone: 714-516-4581
Tel Aviv University, Bachelor of Arts
University la Sapienza, Master of Arts
New York University, Ph.D.


Dr. Klein focuses on Italian Jewry, Jewish migration, and the Holocaust. Her book Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018) was selected as finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. Her next book project will examine Italian Jews’ participation in Italy’s African empire from the 1890s to World War II, including their ties to indigenous Jews in Libya and Ethiopia.  

Dr. Klein also works in the digital humanities, especially the study of Wikipedia. Her co-authored article “Wikipedia’s Intentional Distortion of the History of the Holocaust” in the Journal of Holocaust Research has surpassed 35,000 views, attracted international media coverage, and achieved an attention score in the 98th percentile according to data science company Altmetric. It is under contract to be translated into Polish and Hebrew.

Dr. Klein teaches both introductory surveys and in-depth courses in Jewish, European, migration, and Holocaust history.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Fellow, Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist
  • Barbieri Grant in Modern Italian History, Trinity College
  • Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation Fellowship in Jewish Studies
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Scholarship
  • USC Shoah Foundation International Teaching Fellow
  • Pedagogical Innovation Award, Chapman University
  • Paula Hyman Mentorship Program Recipient (HUC & JTS)
  • Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, New York University



bookItaly’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018). View here.

2018 National Jewish Book Award Finalist in two categories: "History" & "Writing Based on Archival Material"

Journal Articles & Book Essays

  • Co-authored with Jan Grabowski, “Wikipedia’s Intentional Distortion of the History of the Holocaust,” Journal of Holocaust Research 37, 2023 – see here.
  • “Italian Society during World War II,” in The Routledge History of the Second World War, edited by Paul Bartrop. New York: Routledge, 2021. View here.
  • “Life is Beautiful, Or Not: The Myth of the Good Italian,’” in The Holocaust Across Borders: Trauma, Atrocity, and Representation in Literature and Culture, edited by Hilene Flanzbaum. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021. View here.
  • “Challenging the Myth of Italian Jewish Assimilation,” Modern Judaism 37 (1), February 2017 76-107. View here.
  • “An Army of Housewives: Women’s Wartime Columns in Two Mainstream Israeli Newspapers,” Nashim: Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, Vol. 15, Spring 2008, p. 88-107. View here.

Other Publications

  • Review of Ethan Katz et al (editors), Colonialism and the Jews (Indiana University Press, 2017), Journal of Modern History, 2020. View here.
  • Translation from Italian: “Three Jewish Men are Accused of Sodomy (Rome, 1624),” in A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969, edited by Noam Sienna. Philadelphia: Print-O-Craft, 2019
  • Review of Eileen Ryan, Religion as Resistance: Negotiating Authority in Italian Libya (Oxford University Press, 2018), American Historical Review, 2019.  View here
  • Review of Simon Levis Sullam, Italian Executioners: The Genocide of Jews in Italy (Princeton University Press, 2018), H-Net, 2019. View here
  • “Using Wikipedia in Israel Studies Courses,” Israel Studies Review, Vol. 33, Spring 2018. View here
  • Review of Elizabeth Schächter, The Jews of Italy, 1848-1915: Between Tradition and Transformation (Vallentine Mitchell, 2011), Journal of Jewish Identities, 2013. View here.
  • “Displaced Persons Act,” in Anti-Immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Kathleen Arnold. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2011, p. 160-165. View here.


  • Hist 296: The Holocaust: Myths and Memories
  • Hist 234: 3,000 Years of Jewish History
  • Hist 358: Jewish Life from Napoleon to Hitler: France, Italy, Germany
  • Hist 357: History of Jewish Migration
  • Hist 317: On the Move! Migrations in World History
  • Hist 305: Cooking, Clothes, and Comics: History of Daily Life in Modern Europe
  • Hist 520C: Migration and War (Course in the MA War & Society Program)


Podcast Series

“Forgetting Fascism”

In this special series, Dr. Shira Klein dispels some powerful myths about the Jews of Italy. What was Jewish life like under Fascism? How did the Holocaust unfold in Italy? Uncover the story of the world’s oldest Jewish minority.
Forgetting Fascism, Part 1: The Great Betrayal
Forgetting Fascism, Part 2: The Myth of the Good Italian
Forgetting Fascism, Part 3: The Rise and Fall of Italy’s Jews

“Jews Go Viral: Anti-Semitism in the Age of Coronavirus,” lecture given May 2020. View here
Book Trailer

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications