Catherine A. Epstein, associate professor of history, will discuss her research on Arthur Greiser, a Nazi leader who carried out extraordinary ethnic cleansing measures involving Germans, Jews and Poles. Greiser was the Nazi regional leader of the Warthegau, an area in western Poland annexed to the Third Reich in 1939. There, he oversaw the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Poles and the first mass killing of Jews in Europe. The Warthegau, part of which had once belonged to Germany, was Greiser’s childhood homeland, and his primary aim was to make the area German again. Professor Epstein’s research confirms a small number of other studies showing ethnic nationalism to be more important to Nazis than straightforward anti-Semitism. This is a finding that may well apply to many other Nazi leaders.
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