Franklin Littell, Scholar of Holocaust, Dies at 91

Historians in the News

Franklin H. Littell, a father of Holocaust studies who traced his engagement with the subject to the revulsion he felt as a young Methodist minister while witnessing a big Nazi rally in Nuremberg in 1939, died last Saturday at his home in Merion Station, Pa., outside Philadelphia. He was 91.

His wife, Marcia Sachs Littell, announced the death.

Dr. Littell (pronounced lih-TELL), the author of more than two dozen scholarly books and a thousand articles, was among the first intellectuals to delve into the question of how baptized Christians in the heart of Christian Europe could have either killed or ignored the killing of six million Jews. A big part of the answer, as he found it, was that Christians from the time of Jesus on had shown systematic contempt for Jews and their beliefs.

Hubert G. Locke, a leading Holocaust scholar and former dean of the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, said in an interview on Wednesday that Dr. Littell had had “singular influence” in turning a focus on these ancient prejudices as the basis for the Holocaust.

Another Holocaust scholar, John K. Roth, emeritus professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, said Dr. Littell had “helped to turn the tide on the awareness of Christian complicity, shortcoming, indifference in the face of what was happening to Jews under Hitler.”...

comments powered by Disqus