Christian Gerlach

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Hans Christian Gerlach is professor of Modern History at the University of Bern.[1] Gerlach is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Genocide Research[2] and author of multiple books dealing with the Hunger Plan, Holocaust and genocide. These include "Krieg, Ernährung, Volkermord: Forschungen zur Deutschen Vernichtungspolitik im Zweiten Weltkrieg" (1998); "Kalkulierte Morde: die Deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspolitik in Weissrussland 1941 bis 1944" (1999); "Das letzte Kapitel" (co-authored with and Götz Aly in 2002); and "Sur la conférence de Wannsee" (2002).[3]

Gerlach's article, "Extremely Violent Societies: An Alternative to the Concept of Genocide"[4] has been the subject of great debate among scholars of genocide and violence.[5] In the article, Gerlach challenges the model utilized in trying to understand genocide. Gerlach has previously stirred intense debate among Holocaust historians with his thesis surrounding December 12, 1941 as the date on which Adolf Hitler made the decision to annihilate the Jews of Europe.[6]

Gerlach is also known by his highly critical attitude towards the national conservative resistance in Nazi Germany. According to Gerlach, the resistance offered by officers such as Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow, who were responsible for the famous assassination attempt on Hitler on 20 July 1944, was insincere, and in fact- Tresckow and many other resistance fighters were heavily implicated in national socialist war crimes [7] However, Gerlach's thesis was severely criticized by a number of scholars, among them Peter Hoffmann from McGill University and Klaus Jochen Arnold from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.[8] In 2011, Danny Orbach, a Harvard based historian and PhD candidate, argued that Gerlach's reading of the sources is highly skewed, and, at times, diametrically opposed to what they actually say. In one case, according to Orbach, Gerlach had falsely paraphrased the memoir of the resistance fighter Colonel Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, and in another case, quoted misleadingly from an SS document. Hence, Orbach concludes that Gerlach's thesis on the German resistance is highly unreliable.[9]


  1. ^ "Universität Bern - Historisches Institut - Ordinariat Gerlach". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. ^ "Taylor & Francis Journals: Welcome". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  3. ^ "gerlach cv". Retrieved 2008-12-30. [dead link]
  4. ^ Gerlach, Christian (December 2006). "Extremely Violent Societies: An Alternative to the Concept of Genocide". Journal of Genocide Research 8: 455–471. doi:10.1080/14623520601056299. ISSN 1462-3528. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  5. ^ "Türk Tarih Kurumu". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  6. ^ "December 12, 1941: an Essay by Goetz Aly". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ Christian Gerlach, "Men of 20 July and the War in the Soviet Union", in War of extermination : the German military in World War II, 1941-1944 / edited by Hannes Heer and Klaus Naumann, New York : Berghahn Books, c2000.
  8. ^ Peter Hoffmann, Carl Goerdeler and the Jewish question, 1933-1942, Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011, xvi. Klaus Jochen Arnold, Verbrecher aus eigener Initiative? Der 20 Juli 1944 und die Thesen Christian Gerlachs
  9. ^ Danny Orbach, "Criticism Reconsidered: The German Resistance to Hitler in Critical German Scholarship", Journal of Military History 75:2 (April, 2011)

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