Bryan Mark Rigg

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Bryan Mark Rigg (born March 16, 1971) is an American author and speaker who received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University. He is based at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Rigg discovered a large number of "Mischlinge" (part-Jews) who were members of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or "Nazi" Party) and/or served in the German Armed Forces during World War Two.

His work has been featured in The New York Times and on programs including NBC Dateline and Fox News. Reared as a Baptist Christian, he discovered he was of Jewish descent, converted to Judaism and served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army. He also later served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His assembled documents, videotapes, and wartime memoirs on the subject are presented as the Bryan Mark Rigg Collection at the Military Archives branch of the Federal German Archives (Bundesarchiv) in Freiburg, Germany.

His book Hitler's Jewish Soldiers earned him the Colby Award (for first books in military history) in 2003.


Born and reared as a Baptist,[1] Rigg studied at Phillips Exeter Academy, continued on to Yale University, and received his B.A. in 1996. He received a grant from the Henry Fellowship, to continue his studies in Cambridge University. That summer he went to Germany, and met Peter Millies, an elderly man who helped Rigg understand the German in a movie they were watching, Europa Europa, about Shlomo Perl, a full Jew who "hid in plain sight" in the Nazi army, posing as a Volksdeutsche orphan named Josef Peters. Millies later told Rigg that he himself was a part-Jew, and introduced him to the subject which was to become his main research topic for many years.[2]

Back at Cambridge, Rigg offered the subject as his thesis, but was rejected on the grounds that it was "dead end science". Upon insisting, he finally received a year off, and small funding from Cambridge for a research trip back to Germany, under Professor Jonathan Steinberg. Steinberg contacted the media about the future research, which caused much debate about the scientific value of the outcome.[3] During this year, traveling under harsh conditions on bicycle throughout Germany, he gathered over four hundred recorded interviews, with "Mischling"s of this sort. He also discovered that he had Jewish origins. He followed up on the trip to Sweden, Turkey, Canada, and finally Israel.

He identifies himself today as Jewish,[4] and studied in Israel at the "Ohr Sameach" yeshiva. He also joined a short volunteer program at the Israeli army.[5]

Rigg has done humanitarian activities in Romania, Bulgaria, the Bahamas, South Africa, and France.[6]

His discoveries and writings have been used both by Holocaust researchers,[7] as well as Holocaust denial and anti-Zionist groups.[8][9]

Recent activities[edit]

After serving as an officer in the US Marine Corps, he became a professor at Southern Methodist University and American Military University from 2000 to 2006.[10]

According to the German Academic Exchange Service, he worked in the Private Banking Division of Credit Suisse as a Private Wealth Manager from 2006 to 2008.[11] He has set up his own firm called RIGG Wealth Management.[citation needed]

His books were published in 2002 (Hitlers Jewish Soldiers), 2006 (Rescued from the Reich) and 2009 (Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers).[12]


David Cesarani, professor for Jewish history in Southampton, England, and Raul Hilberg, emeritus of the University of Vermont judge Rigg’s work negatively, because they believe Rigg's thesis is presented in a sensationalistic and unbalanced way.

Some scholars also resent that Rigg tried to gain public attention when his work was still in an early stage. Other scholars, like Richard J. Evans, history professor in Cambridge, and Omer Bartov, history professor at Brown University, consider the titles of Rigg's books, such as Hitler's Jewish Soldiers, misleading, because the books are not about Jews as the term is commonly understood, but in almost all cases about Mischlinge ("half-"Jews and "quarter-"Jews) as defined by the Nuremberg laws but not according to Jewish religious law.[13] The few exceptions, like Shlomo Perl (see above), were crypto-Jews hiding behind 'Aryan' assumed identities.


See also[edit]

  • Meno Burg (1789–1853), the highest ranking Jewish officer in the Prussian army.


  1. ^ Dorie Baker (May 3, 2002). "Alumnus Bryan Rigg reveals untold". Yale Bulletin and Calendar. 30 (28). Retrieved August 25, 2014. He returned to his family in Texas, where he had grown up as a devout Baptist ... 
  2. ^ "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers". University of Kansas Press. Retrieved August 25, 2014.  Book review.
  3. ^ "Thousands of Hitler's soldiers were of Jewish Descent". This is Zionism. February 25, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2014.  About Rigg's study and personal interest in the subject.
  4. ^ [He returned to his family in Texas, where he had grown up as a devout Baptist Yale biography] "He now identifies himself as Jewish...." See also Not Really Jewish? Where a Jewish woman with a non-Jewish mother discusses maternal hereditary Jewish nationality with Prof. Rigg.
  5. ^ "Bryan Mark Rigg Profiled By The Jerusalem Post". Failed Messiah. May 14, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2014.  Archived profile from The Jerusalem Post about Rigg.
  6. ^ "Dr. Bryan Mark Rigg". Stenger Historica. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2014.  interfaith organization, and his speech at the Dallas Baptist Church: Sam Hodges (January 23, 2009). "'Reflections on Holocaust and Genocide' event set for Sunday". Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers". Holocaust Teacher Resource Center. July 25, 2002. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh (2009). Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military. p. 197. ISBN 9780804758581.  Lists Rigg's book in the bibliography; book's title echoes his, and the content emulates his, in the Israeli setting. The two books are quoted in anti-Israeli and antisemitic websites such as the infamously popular blogs This is Zionism (copying the Chronicle's article) and Why I hate Israel 2 (suggesting the books as recommended books). Another such book is the Reverend Stephan Sizer's Zion's Christian Soldiers.
  9. ^ The antisemitic website has an entry on April 29, 2006, on Hitler's Jewish "Mischlinge" Soldiers, between an article about a survivor of 10 death camps, proving according to the site that the camps were not death camps, and an article about Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert from "a nation that kills hundreds of thousands of mostly unarmed Moslims".
  10. ^ "Annual Reflections on Holocaust & Genocides". Holocaust & Genocides. February 9, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ Rigg "Bryan Mark Rigg" Check |url= value (help). German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Academischer Austausch Dienst). Retrieved August 25, 2014.  This information seemingly clashes with sources showing he was a professor of history during this time at Southern Methodist University (students discussing and rating him on RateMyProfessor website.)
  12. ^ "Books by Bryan Mark Rigg". Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ Danny Postel (May 3, 2002). "Were there Jews in the Nazi Army". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 25, 2014. .

External links and more information[edit]