Gideon Greif

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Gideon Greif

Gideon Greif (Hebrew: גדעון גרייף‎; born 1951 in Tel Aviv) is an Israeli historian who specializes in the History of Holocaust Period and especially with the History of the Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz, and the research on the Jewish "Sonderkommando" in Auschwitz.[1]

Education[edit]

From 1965 until 1969 Gideon Greif attended Municipal High School (Gymnasium) in Tel Aviv. Later, from 1974 to 1976 he attended Tel Aviv University where he got his Bachelor's degree in Jewish History, studying the History of the Land of Israel. Between 1976 and 1982 he did his Masters degree in Jewish History at Tel Aviv University. Beginning in 1996 until 2001 he studied in Austria at the University of Vienna Modern History for which he obtained his PhD.

Main Positions[edit]

  • Between 1976 and 1982 Gideon Greif was lecturer for Jewish History and member of the Course Development Team at the Open University at Ramat Aviv, where he lectured the following themes: The First Temple Period, The Second Temple Period, The Mishna and Talmud Times, The History of the Zionist Idea and The History of the Holocaust. He was Educational Director of the Academic Programs in Jewish History at the Open University of Tel Aviv.
  • From 1982 until 1983 he was Director of Publications and Editor in Chief of the Israeli Parliament publications of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem.
  • From 1983–2009 Dr. Greif worked as Publications Editor, Historian, Educator, Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and Givatayim.
  • In 2000-2001 he was a visiting professor for Holocaust Studies at "The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies" for the fall Semester and an advisor to the Holocaust Memorial Center at the Miami Beach University of Miami in Florida.
  • In 2002 and 2003 he worked as a lecturer for Jewish History at the Faculty of Jewish History at the University of Haifa.
  • Between 1996 – 2005 Dr. Greif was head of German Desk at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocuat Studies in Jerusalem.
  • Between 2005–2009 he was the head of the Polish Desk of the European Department at Yad Vashem's International School in Jerusalem.
  • Between 2011 – 2013 Dr. Greif has been visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, teaching Holocaust Studies and Modern Israeli Presidential Politics.
  • From 2013 Dr. Greif is Chief Historian at the "Shem Olam " - Faith and the Holocaust Institute for Education, Documentation and Research" in Israel, and Chief Historian and Researcher at "The Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects", Miami U.S.A (Founder and Executive Director: Mr. Avi Mizrachi).

Honorary Post[edit]

Between 1980 and 1984 Gideon Greif was Chairman of the first official organization of children of Holocaust survivors in Israel "The Second Generation of Holocaust Survivors".

Pedagogical Projects[edit]

In the year 1993 until 1997 and 2005 Gideon Greif was the initiator and manager of three-weekly seminars in further education for Polish pedagogues and staff of the state museums in Auschwitz (see Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum), Majdanek (see Majdanek State Museum) and Stutthof, former Nazi German concentration camps in occupied Poland. Since 1993 he is the manager of educational projects for teachers (in various countries, also in the United States and Canada) as well as its initiator. Moreover, since 1994 until the present he is the manager of two-weekly seminars in Germany in further education for German pedagogues. Also since 1994 until now he leads educational projects with students at various high schools in Germany, Austria and Poland.

On the educational level, Dr. Greif is lecturing intensively in High Schools, Colleges and Universities all over the world, in countries like Germany, Poland, The USA, Australia and Denmark. In Germany alone about 116,000 Gymnasium students have listened to his lectures in the recent decade, mostly on Auschwitz and on other Holocaust related topics.

Advisory Positions[edit]

Since 1991 Gideon Greif has been responsible for the planning and development of exhibitions, films and educational resources at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland where he is also an advisor to the management of the museum at various conferences and pedagogic projects as well as a translator for museum materials and for Israeli visitors of Auschwitz.

Since 1995 he has also worked for the "Survivors of the Shoah" (Visual History Foundation) in Los Angeles where he plans and manages further education seminars for the scientific staff of the foundation, in particular for interviewers of Holocaust survivors. Moreover from 1999 until the present he has been a member of the American international advisory council of interviewers at the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation in New York.

Publications[edit]

Publications (partial list)

  • Germany's Jews under Nazi Regime 1933-1939 (in Hebrew, The Open University, Tel Aviv 1983)
  • The Historiography of the Holocaust (In English, Coeditor with Yisrael Gutman, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 1989)
  • The History of the Warsaw Jews (in Hebrew, Keter, Tel Aviv 1991)
  • Massuah (Periodical, in Hebrew, Editor, Massuah, Tel Yitzahk 1994-98)
  • For the Memory (Periodical, Hebrew, Editor, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 1994-2000)
  • We Wept without Tears... the Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando in Auschwitz (in German, I. edition, Böhlau, Köln 1995; II. edition, Fischer T.V., Frankfurt a.M. 1999; in Hebrew, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 1999; in Polish, ZIH, Warsaw 2002; in English, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 2005)
  • The Jeckes (in German, Böhlau, Köln 2000)
  • Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (in Hebrew, Sifriat Poalim, Tel Aviv, 1991, several entries; further editions also in German and English)
  • The Holocaust Encyclopedia (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven 2002, several entries)
  • The Auschwitz Album – The Story of Lili Jacob (in "The Auschwitz Album", edited by Israel Gutman & Bella Gutterman; Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 2002, p. 71-86)
  • Ein abgeschnittenes Leben. Das Tagebuch von Etty Hillesum 1941–1943". S. 11 – 26 und: „Anklageschrift: Deutsche, Polen, Juden. Die Versteck – Tagebuecher von Calel Perechodnik". S. 27 – 41, in Walter Schmitz (Hg./Ed.): Erinnerte Shoah. Die Literatur der Ueberlebenden. The Shoah Remembered. Literature of the Survivors. Thelem Verlag. Dresden 2003.
  • My Brother's keeper. Jews who saved other Jews during the Holocaust", Jerusalem 2004.
  • Between ‘Normality’ and the ‘Absurd’ – Spheres of Everyday Life in the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz – Birkenau", in John K. Roth, Jonathan Petropoulos (Editors), Grey Zones. Ambiguity and Compromise in the Holocaust and its Aftermath, Claremont, 2005).

"Freddy Hirsch- an educator and social leader during the Holocaust" (Hebrew), in: Emdot – Am, Medinah, Torah, Vol. 5, edited by Moshe Rachimi, pp. 81 –97, Rechovot 2013.

Dr. Greif completed recently his book on "Jakitto – the boy from Thessaloniki in Auschwitz", which will be published soon in Israel. "Jakitto" (nickname of Jacob Maestro), was deported to Auschwitz in March 1943. He worked there at the "Arbeitseinsatz", a position which enabled him to help many Jews, to get better "Kommandos" (Working sq­ s), thus saving their lives.

Radio Documenatries[edit]

Dr. Greif initiated the documentary Radio-broadcast "Thessaloniki - Auschwitz", which reconstructed the annihilation of Greek Jews in Auschwitz, The documentary also depicted their life prior to the deportations to Auschwitz in their homeland, Greece. For producing the documentary, Dr. Greif went with twenty survivors and their children to Greece, to their place of birth, and then to Auschwitz, where each of them reconstructed his fate in the camp. Some of the survivors were victims of the so-called "medical experiments", others were in the "Sonderkommando", one was in the Auschwitz-Orchestra, and some were prisoners in Buna-Monowitz. This documentary, broadcast in "Galey Zahal", won the "Sokolow Prize" for best documentary program on the Radio and was accompanied with a documentary film.
The History of the Zionist Movement (editor & interviewer; 12 chapters,1980)
The Yellow Star - History of the Shoah (editor & interviewer; 67 chapters, 1981–1983)

Where was the Sun? - Central Documentary program for Yom Hashoah (chief editor and interviewer, 1984–1993)

I wanted to live - Ruth Eliaz's testimony (editor & interviewer; 1986)
I have been there (series of documentaries, on various topics, editor; 1986–1989)
Saloniki – Auschwitz – The Life and Death of a Jewish Community - was awarded with the „Sokolov-Price for Journalism", as best documentary of 1988. (editor & interviewer; 1987)
The Sonderkommando people of Auschwitz-Birkenau - Testimony of Yehoshua Rosenblum (editor & interviewer; 1987)
The March of the Living – the first live broadcast ever from Auschwitz-Birkenau (1988, 1989, 1992)
50 years after the Reichskristallnacht - Live broadcast with eyewitnesses and historians (editor & interviewer; 1988)

  • The History of the Zionist Movement (editor & interviewer; 12 chapters,1980)
  • The Yellow Star - History of the Shoah (editor & interviewer; 67 chapters, 1981–1983)
  • Where was the Sun? - Central Documentary program for Yom Hashoah (chief editor and interviewer, 1984–1993)
  • I wanted to live - Ruth Eliaz's testimony (editor & interviewer; 1986)
  • I have been there (series of documentaries, on various topics, editor; 1986–1989)
  • Saloniki – Auschwitz – The Life and Death of a Jewish Community - was awarded with the „Sokolov-Price for Journalism", as best documentary of 1988. (editor & interviewer; 1987)
  • The Sonderkommando people of Auschwitz-Birkenau - Testimony of Yehoshua Rosenblum (editor & interviewer; 1987)
  • The March of the Living – the first live broadcast ever from Auschwitz-Birkenau (1988, 1989, 1992)
  • 50 Years after the Reichskristallnacht - Live broadcast with eyewitnesses and historians (editor & interviewer; 1988)

Film Documentaries[edit]

  • Saloniki - Auschwitz (1988): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • Jewish Partisans in Eastern Europe (1989): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • Kielce Pogrom (1990): Historical consultant
  • The Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1994): Historical consultant
  • The year 1938 – A Turning point in the History of the Jews of Germany (1998): together with the Anti Defamation League (ADL), Berlin: Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • The Gold of the Jews (WDR, 1999): Historical consultant and interviewer
  • Holocaust (ZDF, 2000): Chapter on Auschwitz and "The Final Solution": Historical consultant
  • "The Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkeanu" (in preparation, under French Director Michael Prazan. The film will be completed 2014.)
  • Evidence – The Sonderkommando (in preparation, 2003/04)
  • The Victory of Lea-Elaine (in preparation, 2003/04), on a journey back to Auschwitz with Lea Elaine Welbel: Initiator, Researcher, Interviewer
  • Guide films for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Oświęcim: Translation and editing of the Hebrew versions.
  • "Auschwitz, the Nazis and the Final Solution " – a BBC six-episode documentary film series. Advidor and consultant to chapters 4 and 5 (2005).
  • Saloniki - Auschwitz (1988): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • Jewish Partisans in Eastern Europe (1989): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • Kielce Pogrom (1990): Historical consultant
  • The Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1994): Historical consultant
  • The year 1938 – A Turning point in the History of the Jews of Germany (1998): together with the Anti Defamation League (ADL), Berlin: Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • The Gold of the Jews (WDR, 1999): Historical consultant and interviewer
  • Holocaust (ZDF, 2000): Chapter on Auschwitz and "The Final Solution": Historical consultant
  • The Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkeanu" (in preparation, under French Director Michael Prazan. The film will be completed 2014.)
  • The Victory of Lea-Elaine (in preparation), on a journey back to Auschwitz with Lea Elaine Welbel: Initiator, Researcher, Interviewer
  • Guide films for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Oświęcim: Translation and editing of the Hebrew versions.
  • Auschwitz, the Nazis and the Final Solution " – a BBC six-episode documentary film series. Advidor and consultant to chapters 4 and 5 (2005).
  • "I will get out of here!", based on a chapter from " We Wept without Tears" (Director: Dr. Anton Dick-Boldes; 1996, Berlin): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • "The Dentist" a play for an actress based on "We Wept without Tears", with actress Razzia Israel

Theatre Play[edit]

  • "I will get out of here!", based on a chapter from " We Wept without Tears " (Director: Dr. Anton Dick-Boldes; 1996, Berlin): Scriptwriter, researcher and interviewer
  • "The Dentist" a play for an actress based on "We Wept without Tears", with actress Razzia Israel

Exhibitions[edit]

Dr. Greif was the scientific advisor and historical consultant of the exhibition "With Me Here Are Six Million Accusers" which marked the 50th anniversary of Adolf Eichmann's trial in 1961, inaugurated April 11, 2011, at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.[2] The exhibition describes Eichmann's Career at the SS, his personal responsibility for the deportation of millions of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps, his attempts to hide after the war and the operation of his discovery and seizure in Argentina in 1960. The exhibition aims to prove that Eichmann was not the "Murderer behind the desk", but an fanatic foe of the Jews, who was determined to send them to their deaths.[2]

Dr. Greif is now preparing with Peter Siebers an historical-architectural exhibition under the title "The Other Planet – Topography of Auschwitz", which will reconstruct each and every building existing in Auschwitz from 1940 to 1945. This exhibition is a result of a co-operation with a German architect, Mr. Peter Siebers. The exhibition will be inaugurated on November 2014 in Koeln, Germany, in the previous Gestapo headquarters. The exhibition materials will simultaneously be published in book form.

International Conferences and Symposia[edit]

  • National Socialist Concentration Camps – Development and Structure: (Weimar, 1995)
  • Joint Seminars of Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation and Yad Vashem (Würzburg, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000)
  • Joint Seminars between Yad Vashem and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Berlin Senat, for teachers and educators (Berlin, 1997, 1998).
  • Breaking the circle of violence: Max-Planck-Institut for History (Göttingen,1999)
  • I want to give testimony – The diaries of Victor Klemperer and the problematic history of German-Jewish relations: Moses-Mendelsohn-Institut of *Potsdam (Waren-Müritz, 2000): Die Jeckes – German Jews in Eretz-Israel: their difficulties, contribution to the land and victory.
  • Diaries of Holocaust Survivors: The 2nd International Conference on the Holocaust and Education (Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 2000)
  • Unique testimonies – The worldwide Project of Sonderkommando Survivors: The 3rd International Conference on the Holocaust and Education (Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 2002)
  • Dr. Greif initiated the first international conference on the writings of Yechiel Di-Nur, known as "K.Tzetnik", first novelist on Auschwitz. This conference took place in Calgary, Canada on March 2013, under the Title: "Ka-Tzetnik: the Impact of the first Holocaust Novelist in Israel and beyond". The conference was organized by the Israel Studies Department at the Calgary University, Director: Prof. David Tal, together with historian Dr. Annette Timm. Famous and renowned scholars from 7 countries participated in the conference.Dr. Greif's topic in the conference was:"The picture of Auschwitz in the writings of K.Tzetnik - reality and imagination'.

Dr. Greif participated in the International Conference on the ":Sonderkommandos and Arbeitsjuden", organized by Prof. Philippe Mesnard and Prof. Frederic Crahay, heads of "Fondation Auschwitz" in Brussels, Belgium. The conference, with the participation of renowned scholars from all over the world, took place in Brussels in May 2013. Dr. Greif's topic was: "The importance of the research on the Sonderkommando to the understanding of the Final Solution in Auschwitz-Birknau".

Special Projects[edit]

Dr. Greif initiated in 2006 the project of the "Authentic Box Car", which is now standing on the Ramp of Birkenau, not far from the main entrance to the camp, as an eternal memory to the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews, murdered by the Germans in the Gas Chambers of Birkenau in 1944, and dedicated to the memory of Hugo Lowy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royle, Trevor (October 27, 2002). "They helped the Nazis murder their fellow Jews now these Holocaust victims' grim secret has been unveiled on film". Sunday Herald. p. 2. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Exhibit showcases Eichmann, 50 years after trial. Associated Press via Kyiv Post (11 April 2011). Retrieved 27 June 2014.