Saturday, May 30, 2009

first to teach Holocaust

Franklin Littel has died at 91. He lived not far from where I write. I met him several times in the late 1980s at Holocaust conferences. I never warmed to him personally but I was utterly impressed by his focus on the religious aspects of the European genocide. He 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. Today the Times is running a fairly long obit. Possibly no one has been more influential in creating awareness of Christian complicity, shortcoming, indifference in the face of what was happening to Jews. One profile puts it this way: "Professor Franklin Littell is rightfully known as the Father of Holocaust education in America. He was the first American scholar to offer courses on the Holocaust and genocide."