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< All Fellows and Scholars

Dr. Jeffrey Herf

Dr. Jeffrey Herf
2003-2004 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow

"Narrating the Nazi Era: Goebbels, World War II and the Jews"

Professional Background

Professor Jeffrey Herf received a Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University and an M.A. in history from the Sate University of New York at Buffalo. During his fellowship at the Museum, he was Professor of History at the University of Maryland at College Park. For his Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research, Professor Herf conducted research for his project “Narrating the Nazi Era: Goebbels, World War II and the Jews.”

A renowned scholar, Professor Herf is the recipient of prestigious awards and author of numerous publications on German history. His publications include War by Other Means: Soviet Power, West German Resistance, and the Battle of the Euromissiles (The Free Press, 1991) and Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in the Weimar and Third Reich (Cambridge University Press, 1984) which has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Portuguese, and was nominated for the Jabuti Prize in Portugal. His book Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (Harvard University Press, 1997) won the prestigious American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize in 1998 and was co-winner, as an unpublished manuscript, of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History from the Institute of Contemporary History and the Wiener Library in London. At the time of his fellowship, he served as Contributing Editor for Partisan Review and was Member of the Board of Editors for Central European History. Professor Herf has been a Fulbright Guest Professor at the Seminar fuer Wissenschaftliche Politik (Political Science) at Albert Ludwigs Universitaet, Freiburg where he delivered twenty-four lectures in German on “The Balance of Power and the Dialectic of Regimes: Germany and World Politics Since 1914,” and an invited Visiting Scholar at the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies in Tel Aviv. He has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen, Germany; the Center for European Integration Studies at Universität Bonn; the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C.; and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, among others.

Fellowship Research

While in residence at the Museum, Professor Herf conducted research for book project and urged a rethinking of the way in which Nazi leadership understood and publicly described the relationship between the Holocaust and World War II. He examined the records of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, specifically the work of Joseph Goebbels, exploring the way in which these top Nazi officials “narrated,” or interpreted, the ongoing events through radio broadcasts, public speeches, newspapers and journals. Professor Herf argued that the Nazi leadership understood the “war against the Jews” and WWII as one war.

Professor Herf was in residence at the Mandel Center from January 1 to April 30, 2004.