Considered by many to be the preeminent scholar on the Holocaust, Christopher Browning will present the Holocaust Memorial Lecture titled “Holocaust Denial in the Courtroom: The Historian as Expert Witness” at 11 a.m., Nov. 9 in Graham Chapel as part of the Assembly Series. His talk will touch on his experience as an expert witness in recent famous court cases involving Holocaust deniers.
How ordinary Germans came to accept the wholesale massacre of Jews is a central theme in Browning’s pioneering scholarship of the Holocaust. The exhaustive research he conducted is evident in his definitive account, The Origins of the Final Solution: September 1939 to March 1942. This research was sponsored by Israel’s Holocaust Museum as part of a multi-volume series about the Nazi era and the development of the Final Solution.
Browning’s approach sets him apart because he does not see the Final Solution as a master plan established by Hitler alone at the beginning of the Nazi era, but rather as a series of decisions made by many people that evolved over a period of time. In a February 2004 interview in The Atlantic Monthly, he said, “The various perpetrators who became involved in the Final Solution and their decision-making processes were not unique.” He says the Holocaust was not a mystical event that we cannot understand. It was a coming together of common factors and ordinary people.
He is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has been an expert witness at various trials of accused Nazi criminals in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as in the “Holocaust Denial” trials of Ernst Zundel in Toronto (1988) and Irving vs. Lipstadt in London (2000).
The event is free and open to the public. Graham Chapel is located north of Mallinckrodt Center on the Washington University Hilltop campus.
For more information, call (314) 935-4620 or visit the Assembly Series Web page (http://assemblyseries.wustl.edu).