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Dr Waitman Beorn

Senior Lecturer

Department: Humanities

          Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn is a Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.  He is also a consultant and writer for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Dr. Beorn was previously the Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA and the inaugural Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He received his PhD in History from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2011 where he worked under the direction of Christopher Browning.  His first book examined the complicity of the German Army in the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, focusing on ground level participation. That book, Marching Into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus (Harvard University Press) won the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize for best first book from Harvard Press.  The book also received the Honorable Mention for the Sybil Milton Memorial Book Prize for books on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust from the German Studies Association.  This award is awarded every two years. Marching into Darkness was also a finalist for the Best Academic Publication on Belarus-related Problems for Foreign Authors at the 5th International Congress of Belarusian Studies.  The book has also been published in Polish as Polowanie na Żydów. Zbrodnie Wermachtu. Dr. Beorn is also the author of The Holocaust in Eastern Europe: At the Epicenter of the Final Solution (Bloomsbury Press, 2018).  He is currently preparing a major project on the Janowska concentration camp outside of Lviv, Ukraine.  This book project is tentatively entitled Between the Wires: The Janowska Camp and the Holocaust in Lviv.  He has been awarded an NEH Summer Stipend to support the writing of this book.

         As a member of an interdisciplinary group, Holocaust Geographies, which explores the spatial dynamics of the Holocaust, Dr. Beorn was a co-recipient of a National Science Foundation grant. This group has written an edited volume, Geographies of the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 2018.)  This is the first book to address the analysis of Holocaust spaces with GIS. He is also active in the digital humanities and is currently working on four major digital humanities projects.  The first is the mapping of 17,000 residences for Jews in the Lviv ghetto, the second covers the Holocaust in Eastern Europe as a whole, the third will map Himmler’s appointment book, and the fourth is a 3D model of the Janowska camp.  He is currently partnered with the Lviv Center in this work. Dr. Beorn was a co-PI on the successful UVA Learning Technology Incubator grant “Developing Effective Geo-Spatial Digital Pedagogy.” He is also a consultant and collaborator in the Faces of Auschwitz Digital Humanities project.

            In addition to his first book, Dr. Beorn has published work in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Central European History, German Studies Review, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, Politics and Governance, and the Geographical Review in addition to chapters in several edited volumes.  He has been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Foundation, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and Claims Conference fellowships.

            As a public-facing scholar, Dr. Beorn has published pieces in the Washington Post and The Forward.  He has also appeared on CNN, Richard French Live on WRNN, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and TRT. He is an active contributor to public history and engagement on Twitter as well.

            Dr. Beorn was previously the inaugural Louis and Frances Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and assistant professor of History at the University of Nebraska- Omaha.  He teaches courses in Holocaust History, Comparative Genocide, German history, Eastern European history, Antisemitism, Modern European History, Jewish History, Historical Methodology, and Public History, and Digital History. 

            Outside of academia, he serves as a consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum particularly in their programs aimed at military personnel.  He has co-written a training module in ethical military decision-making for ROTC cadets based on his research. Dr. Beorn has worked since 2007 with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.  He consulted on their 2009 exhibit “The Shooting of Jews in Ukraine: Holocaust by Bullets.”  In addition, he continues to serve the museum in its American Service Academies Program with the Auschwitz Jewish Center, leading discussions on the German Army and the Holocaust.  Dr. Beorn is a member of the H-Holocaust Network Advisory Board and also served as the Executive Director of the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Education Fund in Omaha, NE. 

Waitman Beorn

Qualifications

  • History MA April 09 2007
  • History BSc May 27 2000
  • History PhD

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • All the Other Neighbors, Beorn, W. Jun 2020, The Wiley Blackwell Companion to the Holocaust, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley-Blackwell
  • Unraveling Janowska, Beorn, W. 7 Oct 2019, Beyond "Ordinary Men", Paderborn, Verlag Ferdinand Schoeningh GmbH
  • Last Stop in Lwów, Beorn, W. 1 Dec 2018, In: Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • The Holocaust in Eastern Europe, Beorn, W. 8 Feb 2018
  • Marching Into Darkness, Beorn, W. 6 Jan 2014

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

- Holocaust History

- Comparative Genocide

- Digital Humanities

- Geography and Mapping

- Public History

- Modern German History

- Extremism, White Supremacy, Antisemitism

Further Information

Public Engagement

Radio, Newspaper, Digital Media

2019    Guest, Democracy Now, 3 June 2019

2019    Guest, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “RN Breakfast” Radio Show, 21 May 2019

2019    Guest on CNN, “Newsroom,” 20 May 2019

2019    Guest on Richard French Live, WRNN, 14 May 2019

2019    Guest on CNN, “Right Now with Brianna Keilar,” 13 May 2019

2019    “I led a platoon in Iraq. Trump is wrong to pardon war criminals.” Washington Post, 9 May 2019. Also appeared in 11 May print edition.

2019    “When bad actors twist history, historians take to Twitter. That’s a good thing,” Washington Post, 19 March 2019

2018    “Networked Hate: A Social Media Analysis of the Baraboo, Wisconsin Hitler-Salute Controversy,” The New Fascism Syllabus (online), 21 November 2018

2018    U.S. put its Silent Sams on pedestals. Germany honored not the defeated but the victims,” Washington Post, 11 September 2018

2018    “It’s not wrong to compare Trump’s America to the Holocaust. Here’s why,” Washington Post, 16 July 2018

2018       “Zeev Porath Chronicled Nazi Rapists And Other Atrocities - In His Drawings" Forward,

22 June 2018

2018    “Yes, you can call the border centers ‘concentration camps,’ but apply the history with care,” Washington Post, 20 June 2018

2018    Quoted in “Did Trump Echo Hitler by Calling Undocumented Immigrants ‘Animals’?” Snopes.com, 21 May 2018

2017    “Lecturer creates interactive map of Nazi ghetto, concentration campCavalier Daily, 2 November 2017

2017    “Digital map helps historians get granular with Holocaust Research”, UVA Today, 17 October 2017

2017    Quoted in New York Magazine, 3 September 2017

2017    Quoted in “A Short History of Torches and Intimidation,” Forbes, 15 August 2017

2017    “UVa lecturer: Lee Park chant has Nazi roots,” Daily Progress, 20 May 2017

2017    “Speaker to shed light on lesser known aspect of Holocaust,” Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, 2 March 2017

2014    Marching into Darkness Book Interview: New Books in History, New Books Network Podcast, 10 January 2014

2013    “Beorn searches for answers in the lives and geographies of the Holocaust,” A&S: A Newsletter of the College and Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Dec 2013

2013    Organizational Cultures and the Conditions for Atrocity,” Harvard University Press Blog, 11

December 2013

2013    “Our Mothers, Our Fathers…learned their lesson?Assessing Atrocity, 16 Jul 2013

2013    “Gift enables professor to discuss the evil that men doUniversity of Nebraska Foundation

Newsletter, 26 March 2013

2011    “Exclusive: Marines Nazi-Flag Whistleblower Comes Forward,” Mother Jones, 11 February 2011

 

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