First University Department of Holocaust Studies Opens in Germany

Deutsche Welle reports the first university chair in the country for Holocaust Studies has been created. The department will operate under the History and Philosophy Faculty at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Uni VP Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz said the city is an appropriate fit for Holocaust studies and that his university has Jewish roots.

The new department will deal exclusively with the genocide of Jews under the Nazis in Germany and Europe. Historian Sibylle Steinbacher is to head the department. The German state of Hesse will finance the department to the amount of 150,000 euros annually.

Hesse state minister of science and education Boris Rhein called the establishment of the new department long overdue in Germany. Although 70 years have passed since the Nazis were driven from power in Germany, he says it will never be possible to fully comprehend the Holocaust. Rhein said while the current generation isn’t legally responsible for the crimes of the Nazis, it is part of the solution in the present and future. One of the priority fields of research at the new department will be research on the ethical and moral mechanisms for justifying and denying the Holocaust.