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Dr. Bernd Boll
2003-2004 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow

"The SS Death’s Head Units and the Holocaust"

Professional Background

Dr. Bernd Boll received his Ph.D. in history from Albert-Ludwigs Universität in Freiburg, Germany. During his fellowship at the Museum, he was an independent Holocaust historian. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research, Dr. Boll conducted research on “SS Death’s Head Units during the Holocaust.”

Dr. Boll has served as Research Associate for the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Culture where he conducted research on “Headquarters Staff Reichsführer-SS.” Together with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, Dr. Boll worked with scholars on the provocative and controversial traveling exhibit “War of Extermination: Crimes of the Wehrmacht, 1941-1944.” The eight hundred historic photographs and other documentation in this exhibit challenged the widely held notion that soldiers in the German Wehrmacht were not involved in Nazi crimes. Dr. Boll’s work on this exhibition has been published in The German Army and Genocide: Crimes Against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians in the East, 1939-1944 (New Press, 1999). He has also published several articles on his research including “Zloczow, July 1941: The Wehrmacht and the Beginning of the Holocaust in Galicia: From Criticism of Photographs to a Revision of the Past” in Guilt and Denial in the 20th Century, Omar Bartov and Mary Nolan, eds. (New Press, 2002) and “On the Way to Stalingrad: The Sixth Army, 1941-1942” in War of Extermination: The German Military in World War II, 1941-1944, Hannes Heer and Klaus Naumann, eds. (Berghann Books, 2000).

Fellowship Research

During his tenure at the Museum, Dr. Boll researched “The SS Death’s Head Units and the Holocaust, 1939-1942.” By providing a more nuanced understanding of the social structure, private behavior and indoctrination processes of these units, Dr. Boll filled a major gap in the scholarly work in this area. In addition to his careful study of the SS Death’s Head Units, Dr. Boll focused on the communities that these units destroyed, attempting to write a more complex study of the nexus of war and occupation as seen from both sides. Dr. Boll canvassed the Museum’s archival collections both for documents relating to German troops and for memoirs and Yizkor books composed by Holocaust survivors from related communities.

Dr. Boll was in residence at the Mandel Center from April 1 to July 30, 2004.