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Richard Breitman Distinguished Prof Emeritus History

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PhD, Harvard University
MA, Yale University
BA, Yale College

Richard Breitman is the author or co-author of twelve books and many articles in German history, US history, and the Holocaust. His books The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (New York: Knopf, 1991) and Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), were translated into five foreign languages. FDR and the Jews, co-authored with Allan J. Lichtman, won the 2013 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. His latest book, The Berlin Mission: The American Who Resisted Nazi Germany from Within, was published by Public Affairs in late 2019.

Breitman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at American University and is editor of the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He received his BA from Yale and his MA and PhD from Harvard. He received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College. He received the distinguished achievement award for Holocaust studies and research from the Holocaust Educational Foundation in 2018. He lives in the Washington, DC, area.
See Also
AU Department of History
For the Media
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Phi Beta Kappa (Yale)
  • Graduation Honors, Highest Distinction in History and Political Science and Summa cum Laude (Yale)
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship 1987
  • Merit of Distinction Award, Center for Holocaust Studies, Anti-Defamation League for Breaking the Silence
  • Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History for The Architect of Genocide
  • Finalist, National Jewish Book Award, 1999 for Holocaust Studies, for Official Secrets
  • Honorary Degree, (Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa), Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, 1999
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Ina Levine Invitational Scholar, U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2005-06.

Selected Publications

  • German History in Documents and Images: Nazi Germany (1933-45) (e-book available at
  • Richard Breitman, Barbara McDonald Stewart, and Severin Hochberg, eds., Advocate for the  Doomed: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1932-35, Bloomington: Indiana  University Press, 2007.
  • Richard Breitman, Norman J. W. Goda, and Timothy Naftali, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis,  Washington, D. C.: The National Archives Trust Fund for the Nazi War Criminals Records  Interagency Working Group, 2004.
  • Ausbildungsziel Judenmord?: Weltanschauliche Erziehung von SS, Polizei, und Waffen-SS  im Rahmen der ‘Endlösung’, ed. Jürgen Matthäus Jürgen Förster, Konrad Kwiet and Richard  Breitman (Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2003).
  • Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York:  Hill and Wang/Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1998).
  • The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution, New York: Alfred A. Knopf,  1991.
  • Richard Breitman and Alan Kraut, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945,  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.
  • Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman, Breaking the Silence, New York: Simon and Schuster,      1986.
  • German Socialism and Weimar Democracy, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981.