Yad Vashem Awards International Book Prize on Holocaust Research

Yad Vashem awards Book Prize to Dr. Christoph Dieckmann for "path-breaking and exemplary" work on Lithuania under German occupation.

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Rachel Hirshfeld,

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The International Institute for Holocaust Research of Yad Vashem awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research to Dr. Christoph Dieckmann, of Keele University, in the UK, for his 2-volume book "Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Litauen 1941-1944" (German Occupation Policy in Lithuania 1941-1944).

Christoph Dieckmann's 1,652 pages-long comprehensive study of German occupation policies in Lithuania, of which the Holocaust of Lithuanian Jews is a major component "is path-breaking and serves as a shining model for similar research to be done regarding other countries," the Prize Committee said.

"He succeeds in integrating the context of war and warfare – with their horrors and the needs for food, labor forces and the like – into the picture, yet he clearly and emphatically shows the centrality of antisemitism as both the driving force and framework for Nazi policies in general in this area, and consequently, for the entire Nazi project.

"This achievement is based not only on a vast amount of documentation assembled from archives in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Great Britain, the United States and Israel, and on an enormous body of printed sources and literature, as well as memoires and testimonies; it is also the result of the fact that the author was himself able to read first hand sources and literature in German, Lithuanian, Russian, English, Yiddish and Hebrew.”

According to the committee, “Dieckmann’s description of the actions and atrocities is not a dry account: while basing his narrative on German and local records in order to understand the initiatives and circumstances, the events themselves are usually described with the help of lengthy quotes from Jewish testimonies, thereby giving the reader the possibility of sensing the horror and consternation; and the witnesses are mentioned by their names so they do not remain anonymous.”

The Committee concluded by calling Dieckmann's study “path-breaking and exemplary in its comprehensiveness, its analytical quality, its human sensitivity and the richness of its sources.”