Gideon Greif

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Gideon Greif
Gideon Greif.jpg
Native name
גדעון גרייף
Born (1951-03-16) 16 March 1951 (age 67)
OccupationJewish Historian
Academic background
EducationTel Aviv University
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
Academic work
Notable worksWe Wept Without Tears

Gideon Greif (Hebrew: גדעון גרייף‎; born 16 March 1951) is an Israeli historian who specializes in the history of the Holocaust, especially the history of the Auschwitz concentration camp and particularly the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.[1] Since 2011, he has been a Professor for Jewish and Israeli History at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.[2] He was awarded the golden Medal for Merits of the Republic of Serbia.[3]


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 received his bachelor's degree in Jewish history, studying the history of the land of Israel. Between 1976 and 1982 he did his master's degree in Jewish History at Tel Aviv University. From 1996 until 2001 he studied at the University of Vienna from which he was awarded his PhD.[4]


Greif was the scientific advisor and historical consultant for 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.[5] 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 a fanatic foe of the Jews, determined to send them to their deaths.[5]

In January 2017, together with Emir Kusturica, representatives of Serbian and Jewish survivors of genocide committed against them by Croatian Ustashe in the Jasenovac death camp and the Serbian government representatives to the USA, Greif co-organised the exhibition Jasenovac 75 in New Jersey.[6]

Special Projects[edit]

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.

Greif's book We Wept Without Tears inspired Hungarian director László Nemes to create the film Son of Saul dedicated to the Sonderkommando.[7] The film won the 2016 Academy Awards for the best foreign language film, and also won the 2016 Golden Globe for the Best Motion Picture- Foreign Language.[8]

In 2019, Grief was appointed by Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska to head a commission to probe crimes committed in Srebrenica during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995) [9] [10] [11]. The July 1995 mass executions in Srebrenica during which thousands Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Serbian military forces have been investigated and widely documented by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [12] [13] [14]. This court as well as the International Court of Justice and domestic courts have all characterised these killings as genocide. Western officials fear the commission is a bid to rewrite history [15]. Republika Srpska’s officials have repeatedly minimised the number of killed [16].


  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. ^ "Gideon Greif: University of Texas". Speakers Guide. The Embassy of Israel to the United States. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  3. ^ Serbia, RTS, Radio televizija Srbije, Radio Television of. "Dodeljena odlikovanja povodom Dana državnosti Srbije". Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  4. ^ Aderet, Ofer (2012-08-17). "A German-Israeli Team Undertakes the Reconstruction of Auschwitz". Haaretz. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  5. ^ a b Exhibit showcases Eichmann, 50 years after trial. Associated Press via Kyiv Post (11 April 2011). Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  6. ^ "The Balkans Today: 23rd - 27th January 2017" on Balkaninsight page
  7. ^ Gross, Terry. "'Son Of Saul' Brings Viewers To The Heart Of The Nazi Death Machine At Auschwitz". npr. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Winners & Nominees". goldenglobes. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
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