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Wolf Gruner

Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History; Founding Director, USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research, USC 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), "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), and most recently, the prizewinning "The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia. Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses" with Berghahn (2019). It was published in Czech with Academia, Prague (2019) and is forthcoming in Hebrew (Yad Vashem 2024).

I have co-edited four books, including „Resisting Persecution. Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust” (Berghahn 2020), “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” (Purdue UP 2019), and “The Greater German Reich and the Jews. Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935-1945” (Berghahn 2015).

My new and most exciting book: "Resisters. How ordinary Jews fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany (Yale University Press 2023. aimes at a wider audience featuring the life stories of five Jewish men and women who resisted as individuals in different ways against persecution in Nazi Germany. By exploring many more similar courageous acts, the book demonstrates the wide range of individual resistance and illuminates the agency of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

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 Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research (prev. USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research).

I am an appointed member of the academic committee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. ttee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (since 2017) and the executive committee of the Consortium of Higher Education Centers of Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies (since 2018).


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