Considered by many to be the pre-eminent scholar on the Holocaust, Christopher Browning, Ph.D., 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 the Jewish people 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.
The “Final Solution” generally refers to the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish people. 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.
“The various perpetrators who became involved in the ‘Final Solution’ and their decision-making processes were not unique,” said Browning in a February 2004 interview in The Atlantic Monthly.
He said the Holocaust was not a mystical event that we cannot understand. It was a coming together of common factors and ordinary people.
Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina. He earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.
He has been an expert witness at 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 v. Lipstadt in London (2000).
Assembly Series lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call 935-4620 or go online to assemblyseries.wustl.edu.