Bryan Mark Rigg

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Bryan Mark Rigg (born March 16, 1971) is an American author and speaker who received his B.A with Honors from Yale University and his Masters and his PhD from Cambridge University. He studied under professors Paula Hyman, Paul Kennedy, General William Odom, Jeffrey Sammons, and Henry Turner at Yale University and historian Jonathan Steinberg at Cambridge University. He has taught as a lecturer at Southern Methodist University and American Military University. He also has taught at Phillips Exeter Academy.

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 II. In the 1990s, he travelled throughout the world, primarily Austria and Germany, and interviewed hundreds of these men.

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 in 1992 and embraced his Jewish heritage. He is now an ethical humanist. He served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army and later 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. Before his work was published, his research was picked up by several newspapers, most notably the London Telegraph, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, causing much sensation and generating a lot of criticism from some historians. He has been endorsed by such historians like Michael Berenbaum, Robert Citino, Stephen Fritz, James Corum, Paula Hyman, Nathan Stoltzfus, Norman Naimark, Jonathan Steinberg, Geoffrey Megargee, Dennis Showalter and James Tent. He has published several other books since then: Rescued From the Reich, with a foreword by Paula Hyman (Yale University Press 2004), Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers (Kansas, 2009) and The Rabbi Saved by Hitler's Soldiers, with a foreword by Michael Berenbaum (Kansas, 2016). He is currently working on his fifth book on Hershel W. Williams, a U.S. Marine Corps NCO veteran and Medal of Honor recipient from the battle of Iwo Jima. The book is called "FLAMETHROWER: The Untold Story of Iwo Jima Medal of Honor Recipient Woody Williams, Japan’s Genocide and the Pacific War" and will be released in May 2019.

He is currently on the board of the American Jewish Committee and the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

Rigg joined Wall Street with Credit Suisse in 2006. In 2008, he founded his own firm, Rigg Wealth Management, LLC. His webpage is www.riggwealthmanagement.com. He focuses on financial planning and wealth strategies. He is also on the radio station in Dallas Fort Worth called KLIF AM every Sunday for a show from 1pm until 2pm.

Biography[edit]

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 as well as Rigg's study and personal interest in the subject. During this year, travelling under harsh conditions on a bicycle throughout Germany, he gathered over four hundred recorded interviews, with "Mischlings" 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 and studied in Israel at the "Ohr Sameach" yeshiva. He also joined a short volunteer program at the Israeli army.[3]

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

His discoveries and writings have been used both by Holocaust researchers,[4] as well as Holocaust denial and anti-Zionist groups.[5]

Recent activities[edit]

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

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. He has set up his own firm called RIGG Wealth Management.

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

Criticism[edit]

David Cesarani, professor for Jewish history at the University of Southampton and Royal Holloway, University of London, and Raul Hilberg of the University of Vermont judge Rigg’s work negatively, because they believe Rigg's thesis is presented in a sensationalistic and unbalanced way.[citation needed]

Other scholars, like Richard J. Evans, Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge, and Omer Bartov, professor of history 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.[6] The few exceptions, including Solomon Perel, whose life was depicted in the film Europa Europa, were crypto-Jews hiding behind 'Aryan' assumed identities.[citation needed]

However, some historians of World War II and the Holocaust, including Robert Citino and Michael Berenbaum, have endorsed and supported his work.[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

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

References[edit]

  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. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers". Holocaust Teacher Resource Center. July 25, 2002. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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]