A giant has passed on

I learned the other day that one of the most renowned historians of the Holocaust, Raul Hilberg, passed away at the age of 81:

WILLISTON, Vt. —Dr. Raul Hilberg, a world renowned Holocaust scholar has died. He was 81.

Hilberg, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Vermont, died Saturday from a recurrence of lung cancer although he never smoked, his wife Gwen said. He died with her at his side at the Vermont Respite House in Williston.

Hilberg was the author of The Destruction of the European Jews, (1961), a landmark study of the Nazi killings of more than 5 million Jews.

He was honored by the German government for his contributions and teaching on the Holocaust and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, according to UVM.

Hilberg, who taught at UVM from 1956 to 1991, started the school’s Holocaust Studies program and UVM later created the Center for Holocaust Studies in 1992 “to honor Hilberg’s teaching and research accomplishments.”

The Destruction of the European Jews is indeed a landmark study of the Holocaust. It’s required reading for those interested in the history of the Holocaust.

Andrew Mathis has a tribute over at Holocaust Controversies. There’s really not much to add. As Andrew put it, Hilberg was “the yardstick by which all Holocaust historians are currently measured.”