Raul Hilberg

Raul Hilberg ( Vienna , 2 as June as 1926 – Williston , Vermont , 4 as August as 2007 ), Austrian historian, nationalized American, famous for his studies of the Holocaust .


Born in Vienna , within a middle – class Jewish of Polish origin – Rumanian. In 1938 , his father was arrested by persecution Nazi , but was released for being a veteran of World War I and the family were allowed to emigrate previous seizure of all its properties. On April 1, 1939, a year after the Anschluss , Raul Hilberg and his family had to flee Austria , at the age of 13, to France , from where he sailed to Cuba . After a short stay on the island, they traveled to New York , where the future historian was educated.

He interrupted his studies in chemistry at the university to fight in World War II (1944). His division participated in the liberation of the concentration camp of Dachau and then participated in the collection of documents for the future Nuremberg trial against war crimes. It was destined to Munich, where it found part of the library of Hitler , which aroused its interest by history . Later he would participate in a project to organize the microfilming of the German documents seized, file that became the Foundation for the Investigation of the Holocausto .

He left the chemistry and passed the career of Political Science at the University of Brooklyn , as well as the career of law at Columbia University , where he earned a master ‘s degree in 1950 and completed his thesis on the Holocaust in 1955. In 1956 obtained a position of professor of International Relations at the University of Vermont ( Burlington ), where he remained until his retirement. In 1952 he became a member of the War Documentation Project and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council , and testified in various prosecutions against the Nazis. This post gave him access to the records of the Third Reich seized by the American army.

In 1955 he maintained his thesis on the Holocaust, directed by Franz Neumann , but had great difficulties to have it published. In the late 50s , the genocide aroused little interest. But the arrest of Adolf Eichmann in 1960 and the opening of his trial reopened attention and could publish it under the title The destruction of the European Jews ( The Destruction of the European Jews , 1961, second edition in three volumes in 1985), a study Which went over a thousand pages and expanded in successive editions, and studied in detail the bureaucratic machinery of the extermination of more than six million Jews by German National Socialists: accountants, guards, engineers and other anonymous workers whose cooperation made possible the extermination .

Despite its extraordinary documentation, which laid the foundations of the scientific study of the Shoah , and despite the support of Hannah Arendt , Trevor-Roper and dozens of prestigious historians, the work was criticized in some respects, such as its assertion that it did not There would have been significant Jewish resistance by the Jews against the Nazi party and even against the Holocaust, or for their reduction in the number of deaths from six million to five million one hundred thousand. The author dedicated his life to patiently undo the fallacies of revisionism and historical revisionism (negationism) on genocide Jew, not only with his writings and lectures, but testifying against Nazis or, for example, against the German Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel . He also spoke against the Rwandan genocide and wrote an autobiography.

He retired in 1991 and died at 81 a victim of lung cancer , not without receiving the prior year’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Knights , the highest award granted by Germany to non – German citizens.

Some of his last works were translated with the title of Executives, victims, witnesses (1994), The politics of the memory (1996) and Holocausto: the sources of the history (2001).


  • The destruction of European Jews . Akal. 2005. p. 1456. ISBN  8446018098 . The destruction of the European Jews(Yale Univ. Press, 2003, c1961).
  • The Holocaust today (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1988).
  • Sources of Holocaust research: An analysis (IR Dee, Chicago, 2001).
  • The politics of memory: The journey of a Holocaust historian (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1996).
  • Perpetrators Victims Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe, 1933-1945 (Aaron Asher Books, NY, 1992).
  • “The Fate of the Jews in the Cities.” Reprinted in Betty Rogers Rubenstein (ed.), Et al. What kind of God ?: Essays in honor of Richard L. Rubenstein (University Press of America, 1995).
  • “The destruction of the European Jews: precedents.” Printed in Bartov, Omer. Holocaust: Origins, implementation, aftermath (Routledge, London, 2000).

As editor

  • Hilberg, Raul (ed.). Documents of Destruction: Germany and Jewry, 1933-1945 (Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1971).
  • Hilberg, Raul (ed.), Et al. The Warsaw diary of Adam Czerniakow: Prelude to Doom (Stein and Day, NY, 1979).