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< All Fellows and Scholars

Dr. Edward Westermann

Dr. Edward Westermann
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow

“Rituals of Mass Murder: Alcohol and Atrocity in the Holocaust"

Professional Background

Dr. Edward Westermann is Professor of History at Texas A&M University (USA), where he teaches courses related to Modern and Contemporary European History. Dr. Westermann earned his Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA). As a J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Westermann will conduct research for his monograph, “Rituals of Mass Murder: Alcohol and Atrocity in the Holocaust.”

Dr. Westermann is the recipient of various awards and fellowships. In 2016, Southern Methodist University awarded him with the Clements Center-DeGolyer Library Research Grant (USA). He has also been a Fulbright fellow at the Free University of Berlin in 1995 and a German Academic Exchange Service fellow on three occasions (Germany). For the academic year of 2016-2017, Dr. Westermann was the recipient of the Texas A&M University-San Antonio Inaugural Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Westermann is the author of several publications, including, Hitler’s Ostkrieg and the Indian Wars: Comparing Conquest and Genocide (2016), Hitler’s Police Battalions: Enforcing Racial War in the East (2005), and Flak: German Anti-aircraft Defenses, 1914-1945 (2001). He is also the co-editor of Expeditionary Police Advising and Militarization: Building Security in a Fractured World (2018). Furthermore, he has been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor's office in January 2019 as a member of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Fellowship Research

While in residence, Dr. Westermann will conduct research to complete a detailed analysis on the role and use of alcohol in the Holocaust. His research will offer perspectives concerning the role of alcohol during warfare and its role in other cases of mass murder and genocide. He seeks to question if alcohol helped create a psychological disinhibition allowing the SS and Nazi police forces to murder individuals, or if the promise of alcohol served as an incentive for the men to kill. His work will also explore the ways in which alcohol served as a mechanism for stress relief, and as means for social bonding among the killers. Through this analysis, Dr. Westermann will demonstrate that the use of alcohol among perpetrators offers important insights into their motivations.

Dr. Westermann will be in residence through June, 30 2019, and can be contacted at his museum email