"Soviet Volksdeutsche and the Holocaust"
Eric C. Steinhart earned an M.A. in modern European history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. summa cum laude in history from St. Olaf College. During his tenure at the Museum, he was a Ph.D. candidate in modern European history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Mr. Steinhart conducted research for his project “Soviet Volksdeutsche and the Holocaust.”
Mr. Steinhart is the recipient of research fellowships and awards for his scholarship including a German Academic Exchange Service dissertation research fellowship and a Graduate Study Fellowship from the Holocaust Education Foundation. At the time of his tenure at the Museum, his first article, “The Chameleon of Trawniki: Jack Reimer, Soviet Volksdeutsche, and the Holocaust,” was scheduled to appear in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in 2009.
During his tenure at the Center, Mr. Steinhart examined the role of Soviet Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) in the implementation of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution.” Using Nazi-era sources as well as the Museum’s unique collection of postwar Soviet investigative records, he studied two of the most heavily implicated groups of Soviet Volksdeutsche perpetrators: members of southern Ukraine’s SS-led Volksdeutsche Selbstschutz (ethnic German militia) and Volksdeutsche auxiliary policemen, whom the SS recruited from German POW camps and trained in Trawniki, Poland. Mr. Steinhart concluded that the SS’s ethnic German policy influenced many ethnic Germans to perpetrate crimes against Jews, as the rewards for cooperation with the SS and the penalties for recalcitrance were well known and severe. His fellowship at the Museum provided him with unique access to Soviet postwar and German wartime records which were essential to his project.
Mr. Steinhart was in residence at the Mandel Center from February 1 to October 30, 2008.