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Germany launches first Holocaust professorship

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Germany launches first Holocaust professorship
Starving prisoners at a concentration camp in Austria liberated at the end of World War II. Photo: US National Archives / Wikimedia Commons.
10:33 CEST+02:00
Seventy years after the end of the Second World War and the liberation of Nazi death camps by Allied troops, Germany is establishing its first-ever professorship devoted to the study of the Holocaust.

Goethe University in Frankfurt has secured funding to establish Germany’s first ever professor position dedicated to studying the Holocaust, the Hessian Ministry for Science and the Arts announced on Monday.

The programme will launch in 2017 to support a professor researching the history and impact of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime during the Second World War.

“Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust this is a long overdue step. In the land of the perpetrators, one must not forget what happened,” said regional Science Minister Boris Rhein in a statement.

“It is our duty to be at the forefront of this research. What is special about this Holocaust professorship is that it is not only about understanding the past. Specifically it is about the repercussions of the events up until the present, and that will be the focus of the research.”

The professor will collaborate as well with Frankfurt’s Fritz-Bauer Institute, which focuses on studying and documenting the Holocaust.

Similar professorships exist in countries like the United States, Poland and the Netherlands, and various German universities have programs to study the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis. But this will be the first long-term professorship programme in the country to specifically research the genocide.

The state of Hesse said on Monday it would fund the professorship with €150,000 per year and the university has now begun searching for someone to fill the position.

“This new Holocaust professorship at Goethe University… sets a milestone for research,” said Goethe University Vice-President and Professor Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz in a statement.

“It gives us the important impetus to better understand discrimination and oppression in the world by looking at the structure of the domination of Nazi control during the war.”

 
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