2002–03 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Professor Christopher R. Browning
Professor Christopher R Browning received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During his fellowship at the Museum, he was the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For his Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Fellowship, Professor Browning conducted research for his project “Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps.”
Over the past twenty years, Professor Browning has made extensive contributions to the field of Holocaust studies. He is the author of Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers (Cambridge University Press, 2000), translated into German, Italian, and French; Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Harper Collins, 1992), translated into German, Italian, Swedish, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish, for which he received the prestigious National Jewish Book Award in 1993; The Path to Genocide (Cambridge University Press, 1992), translated into Italian; and Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution (Holmes and Meier, 1985). At the time of his fellowship he was awaiting the publications of two books that were published after his tenure: The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (University of Nebraska Press, 2004) and Collected Memories: Holocaust History and Post-War Testimony (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003). Professor Browning has also written dozens of articles and book chapters for such publications as Lessons and Legacies, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies, German Studies Review, Central European Studies, and Yad Vashem Studies. His writings cover a vast range of issues from the examination of the role of Serbia during the Holocaust to the exploitation of Jewish forced labor, to official National Socialist policies regarding the establishment of ghettos in Poland. Through his work, Professor Browning also offers his own reflections on such fundamental questions as “Why study the Holocaust?” and “How antisemitic were the killers?”
Professor Browning has also participated in numerous conferences and given dozens of lectures. In 1999, he delivered the Trevelyn Lectures at Cambridge University and in 2002, the George L. Mosse Distinguished Lectures at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the recipient of dozens of academic awards, honors, fellowships, and grants including the Fulbright Senior Research Grant, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and the 1996-1997 J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has also received fellowships at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from Hebrew Union College. In addition to his academic work, Professor Browning has provided expert witness testimony in court in several cases including the case of David Irving vs. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt in the United Kingdom.
During his tenure at the Museum, Professor Browning examined the Starachowice camp system as experienced by the prisoners, through their own words, and the way in which the prisoners both negotiated new social systems and hierarchies within the camp system, while struggling to maintain cultural morals and familial bonds. He based his research on 175 interviews taken from survivors of the forced labor camp, 116 of which were taken by German judicial investigators to provide evidence of particular war crimes.
In December 2006 Professor Browning was interviewed as part of the Museum’s podcast series “Voices on Antisemitism.” He spoke about the importance of examining the history of perpetrators. Listen to his interview.