Endowed by Drs. Robert and Patricia (’62, P’96) Berger

From Perpetrators of Genocide to Ordinary Germans: The Transformation of Nazi War Criminals in Postwar Germany

The Annual Berger Family Holocaust Lecture

Hilary Earl, Nipissing University

Thursday, November 9 / 7:00 pm / Colby: Parker-Reed Room, SSW Alumni Center

Seventeen million civilians were killed during World War II. Of these, 6 million were Jewish—deliberately targeted by Nazi perpetrators in a European-wide campaign of mass murder. Murdering that many people required thousands of individual perpetrators. Very few of these men were ever fully prosecuted: only 185 were tried and sentenced in the thirteen Nuremberg trials between 1945 and 1949. For a variety of reasons, most of these men were released from prison in the 1950s before their sentences were complete. Using legal and archival sources, this talk explores the means by which convicted war criminals reintegrated into German society, their criminal pasts all but forgotten and ignored. It will assess the factors that enabled such men—perpetrators of genocide—to become ordinary Germans again.

Prior Berger Lecturers

2016-17 — Eric Weitz, “The Holocaust and Other Twentieth-Century Genocides: A Comparative Approach”

2015-16 — Marianne Hirsch, “Improbable Images: School Photos in Holocaust Europe”

2014-15 — Olivier Wieviorka, “The French and the Jews during the Holocaust: Persecution, Resistance, and Rescue”

2013-14 — Jeffrey Herf, “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World during the Holocaust–and Its Aftereffects and Echoes in Recent Years”

2012-13 — Gerhard Weinberg, “Pope Pius XII in World War II”

2011-12 — Robert O. Paxton, “Vichy France and the Jews: Shield or Traitor?” audio file

2010-11 — Hasia Diner, “Not a Silent Generation: Post-War American Jews and the Memory of the Holocaust”

2009-10 — Joanna Michlic, “The Memory of the Holocaust in Poland”

2008-09 — Peter Hayes, “The Holocaust: Myths and Misunderstandings”

2007-08 — Doris Bergen, “The Challenges of Studying the Holocaust”

2006-07 — Christopher Browning, “Remembering Survival: The Factory Slave Labor Camps of Starachowice, Poland”

2005-06 — Phillip Silver, “Hitler’s ‘Model Camp’: Jews, Music, and Resistance at Terezin, 1941-1944”