A native of Finland, Pertti received his Ph.D. in Modern European History from Yale University in 1999 and taught at in the History Department at the University of Sheffield between 1999 and 2005. Since August 2005 he has been working in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Modern European History.
He is the author of After the Expulsion: West Germany and Eastern Europe, 1945-1990 (Oxford UP, 2003) and co-author of People on the Move: Forced Population Movements in Europe in the Second World War and Its Aftermath (Berg, in press, forthcoming in 2008). He has also written a range of articles and essays on various aspects of twentieth century European history.
His current main project, which he is writing during his stay at the ZZF, is a book entitled ‘Victims of the Berlin Wall: Political Legitimation and Identity Building in Cold War Germany’. The book is under contract with Oxford UP and due to appear in 2009. It focuses on killings associated with escape attempts across the Berlin Wall, including both discontented East Germans who died while trying to flee and GDR border guards who perished while trying to prevent such escapes. The book reconstructs a number of killings from throughout the 1961-1989 period and examines their uses for identity-building, Cold War propaganda and political legitimation in the two Germanys, as well as the role that these cases have played in the memory and identity politics of post-unification Germany.