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Yad Vashem Names Prof. Johann Chapoutot Winner of the 2015 International Book Prize

Annual prize recognizes high scholarly research and writing on the Holocaust

20 December 2015

The 2015 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, in memory of Holocaust survivor Abraham Meir Schwarzbaum, and family members murdered in the Holocaust, has been awarded to Professor Johann Chapoutot for his book, La loi du sang. Penser et agir en nazi [The Law of Blood. Thinking and Acting the Nazi Way] (Paris: NRF Gallimard, 2014. The award ceremony will take place on Monday, December 21, 2015 in the Constantiner Lecture Hall at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies at 13:00.

Professor Dina Porat, Yad Vashem Chief Historian, will deliver opening remarks followed by Professor Dan Michman, Head of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research and Incumbent of the John Najmann Chair for Holocaust Studies, who will speak about the judges' considerations. Finally, Prof. Johann Chapoutot, Full Professor of Contemporary History at the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III and prize recipient will accept the award. The world-renowned vocalist, Sabina, will perform a musical interlude during the ceremony. The event will take place in the presence of Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Director of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research.
From the Judges' Remarks:
“Within the vast literature describing and analyzing the criminal deeds of the Third Reich and the ideologies that motivated the perpetrators, few studies have attempted to decipher the underlying behavioral codes and norms of National Socialism. To this end, Prof. Johann Chapoutot has now contributed a major study, which presents a comprehensive, cohesive and systematic reconstruction of the ’constituent norms, demands and duties of the Nazi discourse‘ ["norms, impératifs et devoirs constitutifs du discours nazi"] (p. 24).
Chapoutot's book is a most original attempt to present a comprehensive picture of Nazi ’normativity‘ at large. Through his presentation, he is able to clarify the central place of the anti-Jewish campaign - the Shoah - in Nazism, emphasizing that it is in fact impossible to fully grasp Nazism without it. His study is a fine product of a younger group of scholars of Nazism and the Shoah working in France, and it will hopefully promote awareness and inspire more research.”
In addition to the winner of the book prize, there were also two honorable mentions, Victims and Survivors of Nazi Human Experiment by Prof. Paul Weindling and Der Rote Hiob. Das Leben des Werner Scholem by Professor Miriam Zadoff.
Members of the 2015 Yad Vashem Book Prize Committee are international scholars in the area of Holocaust Research and include: Professor Wendy Lower, Claremont McKenna College, U.S.A.; Professor Dan Michman, Yad Vashem; Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Yad Vashem and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Professor Dina Porat, Yad Vashem and Tel-Aviv University, Israel; Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Israel and Professor Annette Wieviorka, Directrice de recherche émérite au CNRS, France.