Debórah Dwork

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Debórah Dwork is an American historian, specializing in the history of the Holocaust. She is the Rose Professor of Holocaust History and Founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Dwork earned a B.A. from Princeton University in 1975, an M.P.H. from Yale University in 1978, and a Ph.D. from University College London in 1984. After postdoctoral studies at the Smithsonian Institution, she joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1984, and moved to the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University in 1989. She took her current position as Rose Professor at Clark University in 1996. She has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,[2] and has served as the Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and as a visiting scholar at Rutgers University.[3]

Dwork is the founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, and a delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.[1]

Academic work[edit]

In her first book, War is Good for Babies and Other Young Children (1987), Dwork examined questions about the family, the role of women, and the concept of children's rights in the context of the development of the modern welfare system.[4]

Dwork moved from the history of childhood as a social construct to the history of children as subjects and actors. Her historical analysis used children’s experiences as a lens through which to view all of society. In her Children With A Star (1991), she presented the daily lives of young people caught in the net of Nazisim.[5] The book became the subject of a documentary of the same name by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[6]

Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present (1996), co-authored with Robert Jan van Pelt, demonstrated the connection between industrial killing and the daily functions of a society that believed it was involved in constructive activity. The book uses architectural evidence to understand Auschwitz.[7] The book received the National Jewish Book Award[8] and the Spiro Kostof Award.[9]

Dwork's book Voices and Views: A History of the Holocaust (2002) is an edited, annotated, and illustrated collection used by the national Holocaust education program of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.[10] Dwork and van Pelt also collaborated on Holocaust: A History, which discusses the place of the Holocaust in the overall history of Europe, from the Middle Ages to the middle of the twentieth century. It explores how the different occupation regimes shaped the local populations’ ability to respond to the genocide enacted outside their windows. It integrates the history of World War II and the history of the Holocaust.[11]

In Flight from the Reich (2009), Dwork and van Pelt turned their attention to the question of refugee Jews from 1933 through the postwar period.[12]

Dwork edited and annotated The Terezin Album of Mariaka Zadikow (2008), a posie album collected by a Jewish inmate as the Germans pushed forward with deportations from Theresienstadt.[13] In A Boy in Terezin: The Private Diary of Pavel Weiner, April 1944 – April 1945 (2011, ISBN 978-0-8101-2779-1), she returned to the experiences of children as an important source for contemporaneous accounts of Jewish life under Nazi persecution.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Dwork is the daughter of mathematician Bernard Dwork,[15] and sister of computer scientist Cynthia Dwork.

Film Credits[edit]

Dwork has served as the historian of record on and off film in feature-length and TV documentaries. These include director Rick Trank’s “Against the Tide” (2008) and “Unlikely Heroes” (2003),[citation needed] and the Ken Burns/Artemis Joukowsky documentary, “Defying the Nazis” (2016).[16] Television documentaries include “Hiding in Plain Sight” (CBS, 2009) and “Misha Defonseca and her Hoax Memoir,” (RTBF, Belgian National TV, 2008).


  • Dwork, Debórah (2012). A Boy in Terezin: The Private Diary of Pavel Weiner, April 1944 – April 1945. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-2779-1.[14]
  • Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2009). Flight from the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933–1946. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-06229-8.[12] Translations: Dutch (Elmar); French (Calmann-Lévy).
  • Dwork, Debórah (2008). The Terezin Album of Marianka Zadikow. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-51186-3.[13]
  • Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2008). Auschwitz. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-32291-0. First published as: Auschwitz 1270 to the Present. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-03933-1.[7] Translations: Czech (Argo); Dutch (Boom); German (Pendo); Polish (Swiat Ksiazki).
  • Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2002). Holocaust: A History. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-05188-9.[11] Translations: Dutch (Boom); Portuguese (Imago); Spanish (EDAF).
  • Dwork, Debórah (2002). Voices and Views: A History of the Holocaust. New York: Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. ISBN 0-9700602-0-3.[10]
  • Dwork, Debórah (1991). Children With A Star: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-05054-2.[5] Translations: Dutch (Boom); German (Beck); Italian (Marsilio); Japanese (Sogen Sha).
  • Dwork, Debórah (1987). War Is Good for Babies and Other Young Children: A History of the Infant and Child Welfare Movement in England 1898–1918. London; New York: Tavistock Publications. ISBN 0-422-60660-X.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Debórah Dwork, Ph.D." Clark University History. Clark University. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  2. ^ Curriculum vitae, retrieved 2017-07-17
  3. ^ <[1], retrieved 2020-04-30
  4. ^ a b Reviews of War is Good for Babies and Other Young Children by Richard West (1988), Med Hist. 32 (1): 103–104, PMC 1139835; Angela Woollacott (1988), Social History 21 (41) 155–157 [2]; Jay M. Winter (1989), Continuity and Change 4 (3): 474–475, doi:10.1017/S0268416000003829; Richard A. Soloway (1988), Albion 20 (3): 510–512, doi:10.2307/4049777
  5. ^ a b Reviews of Children with a Star: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe by Publishers Weekly [3]; J.C.H. Blom (1993), BMGN: Low Countries Historical Review 108 (1): 123–124, doi:10.18352/bmgn-lchr.3647; Marc E. Saperstein (1992), Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23 (1): 180–182, doi:10.2307/205513; Tibbi Duboys (1992), History of Education Quarterly 32 (1): 126–128, doi:10.2307/368414; Tom Taylor (1993), German Studies Review 16 (2): 377–378, doi:10.2307/1431685; Deborah E. Lipstadt (1992), American Historical Review 97 (2): 547–548, doi:10.2307/2165779; David Cesarani (1992–1994), Jewish Historical Studies 33: 284–287, JSTOR 29779943 29779943
  6. ^ Maltz, Judy (December 22, 2013), "The Unknown Woman Who Helped Jewish Families Torn Apart by Shoah", Haaretz
  7. ^ a b Reviews of Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present: Publishers Weekly [4]; Kirkus Reviews [5]; Abraham Brumberg (August 4, 1996), Washington Post [6]; The Chronicle of Higher Education [7]; Barbara Distel (1998), German History 16 (1): 127–128. doi:10.1177/026635549801600149; Wm. Laird Kleine-Ahlbrandt (2000), Shofar 18 (4): 161–164. doi:10.1353/sho.2000.0012; Larry Eugene Jones (1997), History: Reviews of New Books 25 (3): 127, doi:10.1080/03612759.1997.9952823
  8. ^ JNBA Winners Archived 2015-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Book Council, retrieved 2017-07-13
  9. ^ Sprio Kostof Book Award Recipients, Society of Architectural Historians, retrieved 2017-07-13
  10. ^ a b Review of Voices and Views, Elizabeth R. Baer (2006), Holocaust and Genocide Studies 20 (1): 134–138, doi:10.1093/hgs/dcj014, [8]
  11. ^ a b Reviews of Holocaust: A History: Publishers Weekly [9]; Roth, John K. (September 22, 2002), "Can Evil Ever Truly Be Understood?", Cover Review, Los Angeles Times; Saul Lerner (2004), Shofar 23 (1): 133–137, JSTOR 42943765; Tim Cole (2004), History 89 (1): 163, JSTOR 24426743
  12. ^ a b Reviews of Flight from the Reich: Michael N. Dobkowski, Jewish Book Council, [10]; Kirkus Reviews, [11]; David Pryce-Jones, Commentary Magazine, [12]; Publishers Weekly, [13]; The New Republic, [14]
  13. ^ a b Reviews of The Terezin Album of Marianka Zadikow: Adam Kirsch (2008), New York Sun, [15]; Publishers Weekly, [16]; Sacks, Pamela H. (April 13, 2008), "Notes from the horror", Telegram & Gazette
  14. ^ a b Reviews of A Boy in Terezin: Mimi Frank, Jewish Book Council, [17]; Alexander, Elaine K. (April 24, 2012), "Boy's diary from Terezin expresses hope and despair", St. Louis Jewish Light
  15. ^ Bernard M. Dwork, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, retrieved 2017-07-13
  16. ^ "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War," a New Film by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowski to Air on PBS September 20, PBS, Accessed 05-18-2018

External links[edit]