2008–09 Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellow Mr. Stefan Hoerdler
Stefan Hoerdler received an M.A. in modern history and philosophy at Humboldt University Berlin, and during his fellowship at the Museum he was a Ph.D. candidate in history at the same institution. For his Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship, Mr. Hoerdler conducted research for his project “The Final Stage of the Concentration Camp System: Personnel Policy and Extermination.”
Mr. Hoerdler is the co-editor of several books, including Lichtenburg. Ein deutsches Konzentrationslager [Lichtenburg: A German Concentration Camp] which was forthcoming at the time of his fellowship; Dokumentations- und Gedenkort KZ Lichtenburg. Konzeption einer neuen Dauerausstellung für Werkstattgebäude und Bunker [Lichtenburg Concentration Camp Documentation and Memorial Site: Concept for a New Permanent Exhibition of the Repair Station and Prison Building] (LIT-Verlag, forthcoming 2009); and Der Nationalsozialismus im Spiegel des öffentlichen Gedächtnisses. Formen der Aufarbeitung und des Gedenkens [National Socialism in the Public Memory: Methods of Remembrance and Coming to Terms with the Past] (Metropol-Verlag, 2005). He is the recipient of a Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarship, has held positions as an expert consultant for Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Representative of Federal Interests at the Federal Administrative Court in cases involving administrative disputes, and has worked with the Ravensbrück Memorial Museum. In addition to English and German, his native tongue, Mr. Hoerdler has language skills in Polish, Russian, and French
During his tenure at the Center, Mr. Hoerdler studied the “final stage” of the Holocaust – the period from September 1944 to May 1945 during which concentration camps underwent a comprehensive central reform as Allied troops advanced into Eastern and Western Europe. During this time, thousands of prisoners were mass-murdered while others were released, camps were evacuated, and thousands of prisoners were relocated to Germany in “death marches.” Up to now, the “final stage” of the Holocaust has been undefined and has received little scholarly attention. Mr. Hoerdler defined the “final stage” and divided it into different periods, testing the theory that the rise in mass murders beginning in the fall of 1944 was in part due to a “rationalization” phenomenon in order to decrease the number of prisoners to a “controllable quantity.” He conducted research using the Museum’s archival sources, especially the International Tracing Service Archive. He also utilized the Museum’s collections of secondary sources, survivor testimonies, oral histories, and its extensive photo archive.