This German Historian Is Rejecting the 'Easy' Explanation for the Holocaust

She disputes the anomalous image of the imperial Reich, likens the history of Prussia to that of the U.S. and is even intervening in formulation of domestic policy. Unsurprisingly, Germany's Prof. Hedwig Richter is drawing fire

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Roy Zunder
Roy Zunder

BERLIN – The request to interview Hedwig Richter, a leading German historian, drew a polite response tinged with apprehension: “I am pleased with the interest in my theses, as long as it actually deals with that and not with its distortion,” she replied initially. Her concern is understandable. Recently, intellectuals and cultural figures in her country have come under attack for daring to criticize German-Israeli relations, and particularly for criticizing the role played by Holocaust remembrance in transforming Germany into a Western power that’s at the forefront when it comes to espousing liberal values. Richter herself is treading a fine line between these two volatile issues, but despite being subjected to virulent attacks, her public standing is only growing stronger.



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