PROFESSOR IAN KERSHAW
Historical and Script Consultant
Professor Kershaw is widely regarded as one of the world's leading experts on Hitler and the Third Reich. His endeavours in this field have brought him many accolades - he is a fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society, and he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to history. Ian Kershaw was educated at Liverpool and Oxford Universities, and his original historical interest was Medieval English history. It was this subject that he taught when he joined Manchester University when he took up his first job in 1968. However, on visiting Germany in 1972, he developed a fascination for social history of the Nazi era. This led him to change to lecturing in modern history at Manchester University, and then to work at the Ruhr University in Bochum, West Germany, as Visiting Professor of Modern History.
Between 1987 and 1989 he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Nottingham, then joined the University of Sheffield where he has been Professor of modern history ever since. Ian Kershaw is best known for his hugely important and influential work on Hitler. He wrote, amongst other works, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation (4th edition, 2000), The Hitler Myth, (which was published in both English and German and Hitler: A Profile in Power (new revised edition 2001). But most famous of all his works is probably the two-part biography of Hitler that was published in 1998 and 2000 under the titles Hubris and Nemesis.
Professor Kershaw's work has been particularly important because, through this substantial body of meticulously researched work, he has been a leading figure in overturning much of the traditional thinking about Hitler and the Third Reich. He has shown that there is more to the study of Nazism than just the evil of Hitler. He has concentrated on the people around Hitler, the atmosphere in Germany, the social climate that made possible his rise to power and its terrible consequences. He has demonstrated the great degree of co-operation from functionaries, bureaucrats and civil servants that took place. Also, Professor Kershaw has investigated the impact of the active participation, or passive non-interference, of the German people of the regime. Finally, he has proved that, far from operating highly technical, superbly organised machinery of government, Hitler's regime was disorganised, competitive, divided. He used the technique of 'divide and rule' and his subordinates operated on fear, often double-guessing the intentions and desires of their leader.
Ian Kershaw has been involved in both of Laurence Rees' earlier television series about the Nazis. He was a consultant both on the BAFTA-winning: The Nazis - A Warning from History (1997) and on the acclaimed, War of the Century (1999). This involvement has led to an advanced understanding of what is involved in producing intelligent history programming for a wide audience. These advantages, as well as his outstanding academic credentials, make Professor Kershaw the ideal consultant on this very important series.
PROFESSOR DAVID CESARANI
David Cesarani is Professor of Twentieth-Century Jewish History and Culture at the University of Southampton. Professor Cesarani held the prestigious position of Director of the Institute of Contemporary History at the Wiener Library between 1989 and 2000. The Wiener Library, founded in 1933 in Amsterdam is the oldest institution in the world devoted to Holocaust study. In 1939, it was moved to London. The Library is devoted to providing materials for the study of 20th century Germany and the Third Reich, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, racism and fascism, Zionism and the Middle East and modern Jewish history. During the Second World War, the Wiener Library worked with the Ministry of Information and the BBC in publicising the plight of the victims of the Nazi regime. After 1945 the on-going work of the library has been collecting eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust from refugees and survivors and its files were used in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
Professor Cesarani, himself, has been actively involved in the prosecution of war criminals. He was a consultant between 1987 and 1991 to the All-Party Parliamentary War Crimes Group, and was Principal Researcher of its Report on the Entry of Nazi War Criminals and Collaborators in the UK 1949 - 1950. His research in this direction culminated in the important and acclaimed book, published in 1992, Justice Delayed: How Britain became a refuge for Nazi War Criminals, which was updated and republished in 2000. His work on Nazi war crimes led him to write and edit books on many aspects of the Holocaust. Amongst others, he has edited the ground-breaking The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation, and the lauded, Genocide and Rescue in 1997, about the Holocaust in Hungary.
This year, Bystanders to the Holocaust was published exploring the often-neglected subject of those who were neither victims nor perpetrators and their relationship with the Holocaust. On a related subject, his biography of Arthur Koestler was published in 1998 to excellent reviews. Since 1996, Professor Cesarani has been the Director of the AHRB Parkes Centre for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at Southampton University. Since this library's establishment in 1964, Southampton has become one of the leading universities for Jewish History and culture. The importance of the Parkes Institute was reflected in 2000 with the award of a major five-year grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, which established the center as the AHRB Parkes Centre for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations.
David Cesarani's skills and experience are invaluable to the scope of this series. His deep commitment to documenting survivors' accounts of the Holocaust and his expertise in sourcing the vast archives in this area, is indispensable. Professor Cesarani's long-term commitment to Jewish History and culture, and his impeccable credentials in the field of ground-breaking Holocaust research, make him a crucial member of the production team for this series.
PROFESSOR ROBERT JAN VAN PELT
Robert Jan van Pelt is Professor of Cultural History in the Architecture School at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He received his Doctorate (D.Lit.) in 1984 from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and his Doctorandus Litterarum (Drs.Lit) in 1979 also from the University of Leiden, in the History of Art. There he teaches courses on the history of urbanism, on collective memory and the design and preservation of cultural sites. Since September 2002 he has been the Associate Director - Graduate Affairs - in Architecture. Professor van Pelt's area of expertise lies in a painstaking study of the physical details of Auschwitz and the culture that existed during the war. His books, The Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp (1994), Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present (1996), and The Case for Auschwitz (2002), meticulously analyzes how Auschwitz was built, brick by brick and who the men were who made decisions that had terrible consequences for millions of people.
In his book, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, Professor van Pelt examines how the pre-war, ordinary town of Auschwitz became Germany's most lethal killing site. Using the hundreds of architectural plans that the Germans, in their haste, forgot to destroy, as well as blueprints and papers in municipal provincial and federal archives, this book shows how the town of Auschwitz and the camp of the same name were the centrepiece of Himmler's ambitious project to recover Germany's long-lost glory and power in Poland.
Professor van Pelt's particular focus in this series has been on everything that has to do with the reconstruction, both the drama reconstruction and the physical reconstruction of the camp. To this end, he worked closely with Detlef Siebert, the drama director, to identify specific dialogue and ensure that everything that is written in a scene is absolutely true, and that the sets are authentic. He also is working closely with the computer software designer to build a comprehensive 3D computer model of the camp as it existed in the summer of 1944. He has served as an advisor on two other films, (the PBS Nova production Nazi Designers of Death, 1994 and Errol Morris' feature film Mr. Death, 1999); Professor van Pelt brings invaluable skill and expertise to the making of this series.
PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER BROWNING
Christopher Browning is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He attended Oberlin College as an undergraduate and received his Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Browning has spent all of his professional life in studying, researching, writing about and teaching the history of the Holocaust. He has received many awards and honors for his work and is recognized around the world as a pre-eminent scholar in this field.
In 2000, Professor Browning was asked to submit a report at the London trial of Holocaust denier, David Irving. Irving who has written extensively on Third Reich history, brought the suit against the American scholar Deborah E. Lipstadt (who wrote Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in 1993). Christopher Browning's submission was one of only three reports submitted at the trial. In a landmark case, made even more remarkable by the restrictive libel laws in the UK, Irving lost his case.
Professor Browning has been honored in numerous ways for the depth and breath of his work. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew Union; he was the Senior Visiting Scholar at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1996 and a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton in '95. He also received a Fulbright Senior Research Grant in 1989. His publications include: Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (1992); The Path to Genocide (1992); Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution (1985); and The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office (1978). In the Spring of 1999, he gave the George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge University, which recently have been published under the title Nazi Policy, Jewish Labor, German Killers (2000). This year, his monumental study of the Final Solution will be published, the result of twenty years work. This two-volume work is part of Yad Vashem's multi-volume comprehensive history of the Holocaust. Professor Browning is also working on a case study of the Jewish slave labor camp in Starachowice in central Poland, based on nearly 170 survivor testimonies.
Christopher Browning is an enormous asset to this series. He brings world-class scholarship and a comprehensive understanding of this period of history as well as, very importantly, a distinctly American voice. His painstaking, twenty-year study of the Nazis implementation of the Final Solution contains a vast amount of heretofore not revealed research and detail. Professor Browning has been invaluable in planning the content for these six programs.