Debórah Dwork, B.A., M.P.H., Ph.D.
, is an American historian. She is the Rose Professor of Holocaust History and Director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the Department of History, Clark University
Clark University is a private research university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts.Founded in 1887, it is the oldest educational institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates...
, Worcester, Massachusetts. Dwork is the daughter of mathematician Bernard Dwork
Bernard Morris Dwork was an American mathematician, known for his application of p-adic analysis to local zeta functions, and in particular for the first general results on the Weil conjectures. Together with Kenkichi Iwasawa he received the Cole Prize in 1962.Dwork received his Ph.D. at Columbia...
Dwork earned a B.A. from Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....
, an M.P.H. from Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...
, and a Ph.D. from University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...
. Prior to holding the Rose Professorship, she was an Associate Professor at the Yale University Child Study Center. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, she has held fellowships, most notably, from the Guggenheim Foundation
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was founded in 1925 by Mr. and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim in memory of their son, who died April 26, 1922...
, the American Council of Learned Societies
The American Council of Learned Societies , founded in 1919, is a private nonprofit federation of seventy scholarly organizations.ACLS is best known as a funder of humanities research through fellowships and grants awards. ACLS Fellowships are designed to permit scholars holding the Ph.D...
, the American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, and located in Philadelphia, Pa., is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications,...
, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars , located in Washington, D.C., is a United States Presidential Memorial that was established as part of the Smithsonian Institution by an act of Congress in 1968...
Dwork's early scholarship established her as a social historian who pioneered the use of oral history and primary documents as complementary, mutually enriching sources. A scholar of Public Health, she published a study of immigrant Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...
in New York in the period 1880–1914. At the same time, she began to focus on the history of childhood. In her first book, War is Good for Babies and Other Young Children
(1987), Dwork examined questions about family, the role of women, and the concept of children's rights in the context of the development of the modern welfare system.
In Children With A Star
(1991), Dwork writes about the children of the Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...
, focusing on the daily lives of those young people caught in the net of Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...
. The book became the subject of a documentary of the same name by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...
(1996), co-authored with Robert Jan van Pelt
Robert Jan van Pelt is an author, architectural historian, professor at the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto in Ontario and a Holocaust scholar. One of the world's leading experts on Auschwitz, he regularly speaks on Holocaust related topics, through which he has come to address...
, established the context in which historians now view that annihilation camp. The BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....
produced the Horizon
Nova is a popular science television series from the U.S. produced by WGBH Boston. It can be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, and in more than 100 other countries...
television documentary "Blueprints of Genocide" (BBC) / "Nazi Designers of Death" (PBS) based upon Auschwitz
. The book received the National Jewish Book Award
The Jewish Book Council, founded in 1944, is an organization encouraging and contributing to Jewish literature. The goal of the council, as stated on its website, is "to promote the reading, writing and publishing of quality English language books of Jewish content in North America". It is the only...
and the Spiro Kostof Award.
In 2002, Dwork and van Pelt collaborated again on Holocaust: A History
. In it, they consider the place of the Holocaust in the history of the western world, from the Middle Ages to the middle of the twentieth century. Holocaust
explores how the different occupation regimes shaped the local populations' ability to respond to the genocide.
In Flight from the Reich
(2009), Dwork and van Pelt consider the dilemmas democratic governments faced when presented with the prospect of mass expulsions of Jews from Central European countries. The book focuses on four turning points (1933; 1938–39; 1942; 1946) and offers multiple lenses on each of these periods.
Dwork is the founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. The center is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service, offering seventeen professors teaching thirty-eight courses. The Center hosted an international graduate students' conference in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in April 2009.
Dwork's book Voices and Views: A History of the Holocaust
is an edited, annotated, and illustrated collection used by the national Holocaust education program of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, as well as for a number of local teacher education programs throughout the country and high school courses on Holocaust history.
Debórah Dwork lectures at academic conferences, philanthropic organizations and the general public. Her books have been translated into Czech, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese. She also worked with director Rick Trank in Against the Tide
(2008) and Unlikely Heroes
(2003), and has contributed to television documentaries including Hiding in Plain Sight
(CBS, 2009) and Misha Defonseca and her Hoax Memoir
Radio Télévision Belge Francophone is the public broadcasting organization of the French Community of Belgium, the southern, French-speaking part of Belgium...
, Belgium National TV, 2008).
Dwork is a contributor to The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post is an American news website and content-aggregating blog founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti, featuring liberal minded columnists and various news sources. The site offers coverage of politics, theology, media, business, entertainment, living, style,...
and a regular contributor of articles to newspapers and magazines.
Dwork has taken part in the historical debate about Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust
The relationship between Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust has long been disputed, with some scholars arguing that he kept silent during the Holocaust, while others have argued that he saved thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of Jews....
and concluded that Pius did not do enough to ease the suffering of Jews during World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
- Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2009). Flight from the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933–1946. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393062298.
- Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2003). Holocaust: A History. New York: Norton. ISBN 0393051889.
- Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (2008). Auschwitz. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 9780393322910.
- Dwork, Debórah (1991). Children with a Star: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300050542.
- Mulisch, Harry; translated by Naborn, Robert; forward by Dwork, Debóra (2005). Criminal Case 40/61, the Trial of Adolf Eichmann: An Eyewitness Account (Personal Takes). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0812238613.
- Dwork, Debórah (2002). Voices and Views: A History of the Holocaust. New York: Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. ISBN 0970060203.
- Dwork, Debórah (2008). The Terezin Album of Marianka Zadikow. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226511863.
- 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 042260660X.
- Dwork, Debórah; van Pelt, Robert (1996). Auschwitz 1270 to the Present. New York: Norton. ISBN 0393039331.