Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History; Founding Director, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Originally from Germany, I am a historian (PhD, Technical University Berlin) and a specialist for Holocaust and German-Jewish history, as well as the comparative history of genocides/mass violence and racial discrimination against indigenous populations in Latin America.

On these topics, I have published 11 books, among them “Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims," with Cambridge University Press (2008) and "Parias de la Patria: El mito de la liberación de los indígenas en la República de Bolivia 1825-1890," in Spanish with Plural Editores (2015).

I have co-edited three books, most recently “The Greater German Reich and the Jews: Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935-1945” (Berghahn 2015) and “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” (Purdue University Press, 2019).

My most recent book is "The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses" (Berghahn 2019). The original German version, with Wallstein (2016), received an award for most outstanding German studies in humanities and social sciences in 2017, the Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize of the German Studies Association 2017 for the best book in Holocaust Studies in 2015-2016, and was a finalist for the Yad Vashem International Book prize for Holocaust Research 2017.

Currently, I am writing an exciting book for a wider, non-academic audience about forgotten acts of individual defiance, protest and resistance of German and Austrian Jews during the Holocaust. This book will demonstrate the wide range of individual acts of resistance by telling the life stories of six Jewish men and women, and how they defied the persecution during the Third Reich.

After my arrival at the University of Southern California in 2008 from Berlin, I established and co-directed the Dornsife 2020 interdisciplinary research cluster: “Resisting the Path to Genocides” (2010-2014).

In 2014, I founded the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Since 2017, I am an appointed member of the academic committee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Experience

  • –present
    Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences