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Defense Documents

[The Van Pelt Report]: Electronic Edition, by Robert Jan van Pelt

Table of Contents
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2. My qualifications and expertise

I am a Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada. I have been teaching at this university since 1987, when I was appointed as Assistant Professor of Architecture after an open and international search. In 1991, after a thorough internal and external peer review of the quality of my teaching and scholarship, I was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. In 1996, after a thorough internal and external peer review of the quality of my scholarship, I was promoted to Full Professor.
I have earned all the usual academic qualifications necessary for a senior academic position at a major research university. I hold a Doctorate in the History of Ideas,1 the Dutch equivalent of   a Master's degree in the History of Architecture,2 and the Dutch equivalent of a Bachelor's degree in Classical Archeology and the History of Art3--all from the University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands. I am the recipient of a major, internationally recognized academic award, given on the basis of scholarship.4
I am the author or co-author of five academic books, one of which (critically acclaimed and translated into two other languages) directly deals with the history of Auschwitz,5 and another which deals with the historiographical implications of the history of Auschwitz.6 I have also contributed chapters in thirteen other academic books, three of which deal with Auschwitz7   and one with the Holocaust.8 I am the (co-) author of eleven peer-refereed articles in journals and conference anthologies, four of which deal with Auschwitz,9 and eighteen non-refereed articles, five of which deal with Auschwitz.10 My work on Auschwitz has been the subject of one BBC documentary,11 and was featured in one movie.12 It has been discussed in articles and has been made the object of historiographical discussion and even extended philosophical meditation.13 I   have spoken about Auschwitz at 20 academic conferences,14 and more than 50 universities, colleges, academies, research libraries and other institutions of (higher)learning in North America, Europe and Israel.15 In all of these contributions to our knowledge of Auschwitz and the   Holocaust, both written and spoken, I have substantiated all my claims and conclusions with solid empirical evidence.
My book on Auschwitz has been given two major awards,16 and has been positively reviewed by well-known historians in many of the leading newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals in North America and Europe.17
I am the Director of the collaborative that was commissioned by several Jewish organizations to produce a Master Plan for the future preservation and management of Auschwitz.18
I began to study the history of Auschwitz in a more general way in 1987, and I have undertaken systematic primary research into the history of Auschwitz since 1989. Since that year, I have visited Auschwitz for research purposes almost yearly, staying for longer or shorter times.


1. Doctor Litterarum (D. Lit.), 1984, University of Leiden. Dissertation: "Tempel van de Wereld: DeKosmische Symboliek van de Tempel van Salomo" ("Temple of the World: The Cosmic Symbolism of the Temple of Solomon") Dissertation supervisor: Professor Jan van Dorsten.
2. Doctorandus Litterarum (Drs. Lit), 1979, University of Leiden.. Thesis: "Het Oude Hof. van Prinsenhuis tot Koningshof" ("The Old Court: From Prince's Residence to Royal Palace"); thesis supervisors: Professor J.J. Terwen and Professor Th. H. Lunsingh Scheurleer.
3. Candidatus Historiae Artium et Archeologiae (Cand. Art), 1977, University of Leiden.
. n="4">"Guggenheim Fellow," awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York, New York, USA, 1993-94.
5. (with Debrah Dwork--my contribution 50%) Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996); UK:(London: Yale University Press, 1996), 448 pp.; translated in German as Auschwitz: 1270 bis heute trans. Klaus Rupprecht (Zü;rich: Pendo, 1998), 496pp.; translated in Dutch as Auschwitz: 1270 tot Heden trans. Tinke Davids (Amsterdam: Boom, 1997), 456 pp.
6. (with C.W.Westfall)--my contribution 60%) Architectural Principles in the Age of Historicism(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1991,417 pp.
7. ("A Site in Search of a Mission," in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Eds. Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), pp. 93-156.;(with Jean-Claude Pressac--my contribution 25%),"The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz," in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Eds. Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994) pp.183-245; (with Debrah Dwork--my contribution 50%). "Reclaiming Auschwitz," in Geoffrey Hartman ed., Shapes of Memory (London: Blackwell, 1993), pp.200-234.
8. (with Debórah Dwork--my contribution 50%) "German Persecution and Dutch Accommodation: The Evolution of the Dutch National Consciousness of the Judeocide," in David Wyman ed., The World Reacts to the Holocaust(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,1996), pp.45-77.
9. (with Debórah Dwork) "The Politics of A Strategy for Auschwitz-Birkenau," Cardozo Law Review(vol 20, 1998), pp. 687-693; (with Donald McKay, Val Rynnimeri, Derrick Revington, and Deborah Dwork) "A Strategy for Auschwitz-Birkenau," Cardozo Law Review (vol 20, 1998), 695-730 ; "Auschwitz: From Architect's Promise to Inmate's Perdition," Modernism/ Modernity (vol 1, 1993), pp. 80-120; "After the Walls Have Fallen Down," Queen's Quarterly (vol. 96, 1989), pp.641-660.
10. (All co-authored with Debórah Dwork), "Jews, Poles Must Cooperate On Auschwitz," Washington Jewish Week (vol. 35, no. 4, January 28, 1999), 17; "Paus moet ingrijpen ", NIW (vol. 133, Sept.11, 1998)p. 9; ";Gevecht om de toekomst van Auschwitz ", NIW (vol. 133, Sept 11, 1998), pp. 8-9; "Poles, Jews differ on future of death camps", Washington Jewish Week (vol. 34, no. 31, July 30, 1998) 16 -19; "Shred the Auschwitz Agreement", Forward (vol. 102, no. 31, 193, July 17, 1998), 7.
11. "Auschwitz: The Blueprint of Genocide," BBC Horizon, WGBH Boston Nova (a 60 minute documentary made by Isabelle Rosin and Mike Rossiter about my research on Auschwitz). BBC 2 broadcast on May 9 and 14, 1994; PBS Broadcast in February 1995; also shown in Israel and Australia. Awarded the award of "Best Documentary" at the European Television Festival, 1995, Lyons, France; nominated for an Emmy Award for "Best Historical Programing ", New York, 1996.
12. "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter." Feature Length Documentary made by Errol Morris. Anticipated release date: Fall 1999.
13. Articles and or books: De Volkskrant (May 2, 1998), Het Parool (January 27, 1998), in Jonathan Frankel ed., The Fate of the European Jews, 1939-1945: Continuity or Contingency? (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 74-83, Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad (November 7, 1997), Trouw (November 4, 1997), The Montreal Gazette (Nov. 2, 1996), Vrij Nederland (Sept. 28, 1996), The Guardian Weekend (21 January, 1995), 13-23, Elzeviers Weekblad (20 August, 1994), 66-68, Algemeen Dagblad (2 July, 1994), Gillian Rose, "Architecture after Auschwitz," in Judaism and Modernity: Philosophical Essays (London: Blackwell,1993), 241-257, and Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 28-35.
14. Conferences include: Aberraciones de la Modernidad, Madrid, March 1998; European Social Science History Conference, Amsterdam, March 1998; The Holocaust: Moral & Legal Issues Unresolved 50 Years Later, New York, February 1998; Topographies of Evil, Toronto, January 1998; Terezin After the Year 2,000, Terezin, November, 1997; Political Psychology in the Post-Cold War World, Cracow, July 1997; ACSA International Conference, Berlin, May 1997; Neuere Tendenzen der Holocaust forschung, Essen, March 1997; Lessons and Legacies IV, South Bend, IN, November 1996; 21st Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, New Orleans LA, October 1996; American Philosophical Association, Chicago IL, April 1996; Terminals, Santa Barbara CA, April, 1996; Western Humanities Conference, Santa Barbara CA, October 1995; Lessons and Legacies III, Hanover NH, October 1994; The Holocaust: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, Washington DC, December 1993; Auschwitz: Should the Ruins be Preserved?, Oswiecim, August 1993; Architecture-Memory-Holocaust, Ithaca NY, April 1991.
15. Institutions include University of Munich, January 1999; University of Colorado, November 1998; University of British Columbia, November 1998; Wiener Library, February 1998; Cambridge University, February 1998; University of Toronto, November 1997; Bezalel School of Architecture, Israel, August 1997; MIT, April 1997; United States Holocaust Museum, January 1997; Concordia University, Montreal, October 1996; Northwestern University, Evanston, April 1996; Martyrs Memorial and Holocaust Museum, Los Angeles, April 1996; Williams College, Williamstown, April 1995; Cranbrook Academy, Detroit, February 1995; Bielefeld University, December 1993; Yale University, November 1993; Oxford University, November 1992; Warwick University, November 1992; Syracuse University, October 1992; Cooper Union, April 1992; University of Amsterdam, November 1991; Staedelsche Kunst Akademie, Frankfurt am Main, October, 1991; Technical University, Berlin, October, 1991; University of Marburg, October 1991; McGill University, February 1991; Carleton University, February 1991; and many others.
16. Spiro Kostof Award, 1997; Society of Architectural Historians for Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, "Judged to be the best work published in 1995 and 1996 contributing to our understanding of the physical environment." National Jewish Book Award, 1996; National Jewish Book Council for Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present.
17. A selection of reviews include reviews of Auschwitz: Von 1270 bis heute in Focus (February 22, 199), Tages-Anzeiger (February 19, 1999), Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung (13 February 1999), Wiener Zeitung (December 23, 1998), Neue Zü;rcher Zeitung (December 5/6, 1998), BuchJournal (Winter 1998), Die Zeit (November 5, 1998), Heilbronner Stimme(October 31, 1998), reviews of Auschwitz: 1270 tot Heden in Historisch Nieuwsblad, vol.7, no.1 (March 1998), pp.50-1, Trouw (October 31, 1997), Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad (October 31, 1997), reviews of Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present in Neue Zü;rcher Zeitung (October 25, 1997), Star Tribune (February 9,1997), The Times Literary Supplement (January 31, 1997), De Volkskrant (January 31,1997), The Canadian Jewish News (January 16, 1997), Architect's Journal (January 9, 1997), Jewish Chronicle (January 3, 1997), The Wall Street Journal (December 31, 1996), Skeptic (vol. 4, 1996), pp.100-101, Building (October 25, 1996), Zachor (October, 1996), 11, The Tablet (October 19, 1996), The Forward (Nov. 1, 1996), Chicago Tribune (Sept 29, 1996), New York Newsday (Aug. 4, 1996), The Washington Post(Aug. 4, 1996).
18. (with Debórah Dwork, Donald McKay, Derrick Revington, Val Rynnimeri a.o): A Strategy for the State Museum in Oswiecim, presented to President Kwasniewski of Poland on March 5, 1997.
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