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Gerhard Hirschfeld

Gerhard Hirschfeld German historian of modern age

German historian of modern age
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German historian of modern age
Countries Germany
Occupations Historian
Type Social science
Gender male
Birth 1946 (Plettenberg)
The details

Gerhard Hirschfeld (born 19 September 1946 in Plettenberg, Germany) is a German historian and author. He was director (between 1989-2011) of the Stuttgart based Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte / Library of Contemporary History, and has been a professor at the Institute of History of the University of Stuttgart since 1997. In 2016 he also became a Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Studies, University of Wuhan/China.

Education and Career

Hirschfeld studied History, German Literature (Germanistik) and Political Science (Staatsexamen 1974) at the Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Cologne. He was a lecturer at University College Dublin from 1974-1975. Hirschfeld received his Ph.D. from Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, 1981. He was assistant to Professor Wolfgang Mommsen at Düsseldorf University, 1977-1978. From 1978-1989, Hirschfeld was a Fellow with the German Historical Institute London.

Hirschfeld was director of the Library of Contemporary History in Stuttgart from 1989-2011, and Professor at the Institute of History, University of Stuttgart (since 1997). In 2016, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Studies, University of Wuhan in China. From 1990-2000, he was Chairman of the German Committee for History of the Second World War, and President of the International Committee for the Study of the Second World War from 2000-2010.

His historical fields of interest (research, teaching and writing) include the History of the First and the Second World War, 20th Century History of the Netherlands, and the History of Emigration from Nazi-Germany after 1933.

Hirschfeld has written and edited more than 50 books and 100 articles and has lectured at numerous universities and conferences in Europe, USA, Canada, Israel, Australia, Japan and China.

Fellowships and Memberships

Hirschfeld was a Guest Lecturer at the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham and Research Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University between 1982-1989. From 1996-1997 and 2006-2007 Hirschfeld was a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Netherlands. From 2000-2015, he was a Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences /Science Committee of the Netherlands Institute of War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam.

Hirschfeld is or was member of numerous academic committees and advisory councils, inter alia the Centre de Recherche des Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, the Comité Scientique du Mémorial de Verdun, memorial for the victims of the NS-euthanasia in Baden-Württemberg, Grafeneck, Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, the Landschaftsverband Rheinland: Forum Vogelsang and 1914: Mitten in Europa, the Centre for Second World War Studies, University of Birmingham; further he is or was member of several editorial advisory boards, including the international encyclopedia of the First World War 1914-1918-Online and the journals Zeithistorische Forschungen and Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis.

Publications (selection)

On the First World War:

  • (jointly edited with Gerd Krumeich and Irina Renz) Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg (Encyclopedia of the First World War) (German: Schöningh/UTB: 2004, revised and extended edition 2014, English edn Brill: 2012)
  • Die Deutschen an der Somme 1914-1918: Krieg, Besatzung, Verbrannte Erde (German edn Klartext: 2006, rev. edn 2016, Dutch edn: 2008, English edn: 2009).
  • Deutschland im Ersten Weltkrieg, (S. Fischer: 2013). Germany, in: Blackwell Companions to World History, ed. by John Horne (Blackwell-Wiley: 2010), pp. 432-446.
  • (Together with Gerd Krumeich and Irina Renz) 1918: Die Deutschen zwischen Weltkrieg und Revolution (Chr. Links Verlag: Berlín 2018).

On the Second World War:

  • Nazi Rule and Dutch Collaboration. The Netherlands under German Occupation, 1940-1945 (Berg Publishers / Berghahn Books: 1988, German edn: 1984, Dutch edn: 1991).
  • Exile in Great Britain. Refugees from Hitler's Germany (Berg Publishers: 1984).
  • The Policies of Genocide. Jews and Soviet Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany (Allen & Unwin: 1986).
  • Collaboration in France. Politics and Culture during the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1944 (Berg Publishers: 1989).
  • (Jointly edited with Dittmar Dahlmann): Vergangenes Russland. Bilder aus dem Zarenreich, Klartext Verlag, Essen 1995, ISBN 3-88474-271-X
  • (Jointly edited with Gustavo Corni) L'umanità offesa. Stermini e memoria nell'Europa del Novecento, (Il Mulino: 2003).
  • La guerra contro gli slavi, in: Storia della Shoah. La crisi dell'Europa lo sterminio degli ebrei e la memoria del xx secolo, vol. 1: La crisi dell' Europa e lo stermino degli ebrei, a cura di Marina Cattaruzza et al, Turin (UTET: 2005, pp. 787-809).
  • (Jointly edited with Tobias Jersak) Karrieren im Nationalsozialismus. Funktionseliten zwischen Mitwirkung und Distanz (Campus: 2004). ISBN 3-593-37156-1.
  • (Together with Irina Renz) “Vormittags die ersten Amerikaner”. Stimmen und Bilder vom Kriegsende 1945 (Klett-Cotta: 2005).


  • (Together with Wolfgang Mommsen) Sozialprotest, Gewalt, Terror: Gewaltanwendung durch politische und gesellschaftliche Randgruppen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, 1982.
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