75 Holocaust Scholars Protest Jailing of Historian

Historians in the News
tags: Holocaust

Seventy-five Holocaust and genocide scholars from around the world have signed a letter urging Austria's leaders to cancel the jail sentence imposed on a Jewish historian.

 The letter, addressed to the Austrian ambassador in Washington, Hans Peter Manz, was organized by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Historian and journalist Stephan Templ was sentenced to one year in prison because he omitted a relative's name in his application for the return of property seized from his family by the Nazis. Templ is the author of the book Our Vienna: Aryanization Austrian-Style, which criticized Austria's policy concerning the restitution of Jewish property.

 "This matter could have been resolved by the Templ family in civil court," the letter argued. "The Austrian government's decision to intervene by prosecuting and jailing Mr. Templ will be seen as an extreme overreaction to Mr. Templ's important book."

The signatories on the letter include such prominent scholars as Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews; Prof. Deborah Lipstadt, author of History on Trial; Prof. Walter Reich, former executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and Prof. Michael Berenbaum, former research director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 Among the signatories are scholars from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, Italy, Germany, Spain, India, and Israel.

The complete text of the letter, with all the signatories, follows below.

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

September 21, 2015 

His Excellency Hans Peter ManzEmbassy of Austria

3524 International Ct. NW

Washington, D.C. 20008 


Dear Ambassador Manz, As scholars who have written or taught about the Holocaust or other genocides, we are deeply troubled by the impending imprisonment of an Austrian Jewish historian and journalist who exposed Austria's failure to return Jewish property seized during the Nazi era.

The crime of which Mr. Templ has been convicted, and sentenced to one year in prison, was his omission of the name of an estranged relative from his application for the return of his family's seized property. This matter could have been resolved by the Templ family in civil court. The Austrian government's decision to intervene by prosecuting and jailing Mr. Templ will be seen as an extreme overreaction to Mr. Templ's important book, Our Vienna: Aryanization Austrian-Style, which criticized Austria's policy concerning the restitution of Jewish property. Please convey to President Heinz Fischer our urgent request that he reconsider his rejection of Mr. Templ's appeal against his prison sentence.


Prof. Navras Jaat AafreediGautam Buddha University - India

Prof. Irving AbellaYork University - Canada
Prof. Karyn BallUniversity of Alberta - Canada
Prof. Paul R. BartropDirector, Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide StudiesFlorida Gulf Coast University
Prof. Michael BerenbaumAmerican Jewish University
Prof. Alan L. Berger Director, Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz Florida Atlantic University
Prof. Aaron BermanHampshire College
Prof. Paul BookbinderUniversity of Massachusetts Boston
Prof. Jonathan BrentExecutive Director, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Rabbi Shalom BronsteinJerusalem, Israel
Prof. Frank ChalkDirector, The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights StudiesConcordia University
Prof. Gonzalo Álvarez ChillidaUniversidad Complutense - Madrid, Spain
Eric CohenChairperson, Investors Against Genocide
Prof. Debórah DworkDirector, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide StudiesClark University
Dr. Helen FeinBoard Chair, Institute for the Study of Genocide
Dr. Edyta GawronJagiellonian University - Krakow, Poland
Prof. Zev GarberLos Angeles Valley College (emer.); Editor, Shofar
Prof. Jay GellerVanderbilt University
Prof. Henry GonshakMontana Tech
Dr. Elvira GroezingerUniversity of Potsdam (emer.)
Dr. Alex GrobmanAmerica-Israel Friendship League
Prof. Kathryn HellersteinUniversity of Pennsylvania
Prof. John-Paul HimkaUniversity of Alberta - Canada (emer.)
Dr. Charles JacobsAmericans for Peace and Tolerance
Roz Jacobs Artistic Director, The Memory Project Productions
Prof. Steven L. JacobsUniversity of Alabama
Prof. Katherina von KellenbachSt. Mary's College of Maryland
Prof. Yitzchak KeremHebrew University; Editor, Sefarad vehaMizrah
Hon. David Kilgour, J.D.Ottawa, Canada
Prof. Gerd KormanCornell University (emer.)
Prof. Arnold KrammerTexas A & M University 
Prof. Claudia KoonzDuke University (emer.)
Dr. Neil KresselDirector, Honors Program in the Social SciencesWilliam Paterson University
Prof. Laurel LeffNortheastern University
Prof. Deborah E. LipstadtEmory University
Prof. Marcia Sachs LittellStockton University (emer.)
Prof. Shulamit MagnusOberlin College
Dr. Rafael MedoffThe David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies 
Prof. Robert MelsonPurdue University (emer.)
Prof. Rochelle L. MillenWittenberg University (emer.)
Prof. Stephen H. NorwoodUniversity of Oklahoma
Prof. Zsuzsanna OzsvathThe University of Texas  at Dallas
Prof. David Patterson University of Texas at Dallas
Prof. Paolo PezzinoUniversity of Pisa, Italy
Prof. Eunice G. PollackUniversity of North Texas
Prof. Antony Polonsky (emer.)Brandeis University
Prof. Moishe Postone The University of Chicago Co-Director, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory
Prof. Walter ReichGeorge Washington UniversityFormer executive director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Prof. Peter RoseSmith College (emer.)
Prof. Thane RosenbaumNew York University
Prof. John K. RothClaremont McKenna College (emer.)
Prof. Sheldon RubenfeldPresident, Center for Medicine After the Holocaust
Eli RubensteinNational Director, March of the Living - Canada
The Rev. Prof. Martin RumscheldtAtlantic School of Theology - Halifax, NS Canada
Prof. Suzanne RutlandUniversity of Sydney - Australia (emer.)
Prof. Victoria SanfordLehman College
Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Prof. Baila R. ShargelManhattanville College
Prof. Robert SklootUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison (emer.)
Prof. Philip SpencerKingston University - London, England (emer.)
Prof. Leon SteinRoosevelt University (emer.)
Prof. Oren Baruch StierDirector, Holocaust Studies Initiative  - Florida International University
Prof. Norton S. TaichmanUniversity of Pennsylvania (emer.)
Prof. Gil TroyMcGill University
Prof. Kenneth WaltzerMichigan State University
Prof. Chaim I. WaxmanRutgers University (emer.)
Dr. Racelle WeimanDirector, The Humanization Project
Dr. Ann WeissDirector, Eyes from the Ashes Foundation
Prof. Paul WeindlingOxford Brookes University - Oxford, England (emer.)
Prof. Sonja Schoepf WentlingConcordia University
Prof. Linda M. WoolfWebster Universtiy
Prof. David S. WymanUniversity of Massachusetts - Amherst (emer.)
Prof. Randall C.  ZachmanUniversity of Notre Dame
Prof. John C. ZimmermanUniversity of Nevada Las Vegas
Prof. Bat-Ami ZuckerBar-Ilan University
Dr. Efraim ZuroffDirector, Simon Wiesenthal Center – Israel Office & Eastern European Affairs
Prof. Ronald W. ZweigNew York University (Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)

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