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Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research Awarded to Christoph Dieckmann for his monumental work on Lithuania under German Occupation

06 December 2012

The International Institute for Holocaust Research of Yad Vashem will award the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, in memory of Abraham Meir Schwarzbaum, Holocaust survivor and his family members murdered in the Holocaust, to Dr. Christoph Dieckmann, of Keele University (UK), for his 2-volume book Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Litauen 1941-1944 (German Occupation Policy in Lithuania 1941-1944). The prize is awarded for path-breaking scholarly research on the Holocaust. The Prize Committee called Dieckmann’s work “a model for similar research to be done in other countries.”

The award ceremony will take place at Yad Vashem on December 10, 2012 at 16:30.

From the Book Prize Committee:

Christoph Dieckmann's 1,652 pages-long comprehensive study of German occupation policies in Lithuania, of which the Holocaust of Lithuanian Jews is a major component (more than half of the entire study), is path-breaking and serves as a shining model for similar research to be done regarding other countries. He succeeds in integrating the context of war and warfare – with their horrors and the needs for food, labor forces and the like – into the picture, yet he clearly and emphatically shows the centrality of antisemitism as both the driving force and framework for Nazi policies in general in this area, and consequently, for the entire Nazi project. This achievement is based not only on a vast amount of documentation assembled from archives in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Great Britain, the United States and Israel, and on an enormous body of printed sources and literature, as well as memoires and testimonies; it is also the result of the fact that the author was himself able to read first hand sources and literature in German, Lithuanian, Russian, English, Yiddish and Hebrew. Dieckmann’s description of the actions and atrocities is not a dry account: while basing his narrative on German and local records in order to understand the initiatives and circumstances, the events themselves are usually described with the help of lengthy quotes from Jewish testimonies, thereby giving the reader the possibility of sensing the horror and consternation; and the witnesses are mentioned by their names so they do not remain anonymous. The committee has found Christoph Dieckmann's study to be path-breaking and exemplary in its comprehensiveness, its analytical quality, its human sensitivity and the richness of its sources.

The members of the Yad Vashem Book Prize Committee for the year 2012 were: Dr. Bella Gutterman, Yad Vashem, Israel; Prof. Steven Katz, Boston University, USA; Prof. Dina Porat, Yad Vashem and Tel Aviv University, Israel, Mr. Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel; Dr. David Silberklang, Yad Vashem and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Prof. Dr. Michael Wildt, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, and Chairman of the Committee Prof. Dan Michman, Yad Vashem and Bar-Ilan University, Israel.