A university in Frankfurt will establish the first professor position in Germany for Holocaust research beginning in 2017. The Hessian Minister for Science and the Arts, a culture ministry in central Germany, announced that Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt had secured funding to appoint a professor dedicated to studying the Holocaust.
The position is expected to involve heavy collaboration with the nearby Fritz Bauer Institut, which documents and studies the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. Boris Rhein, who will oversee funding for the program, suggested that the professorship will examine both the history and the consequences of the genocide, in which approximately six million Jews throughout Europe were systematically killed by the Nazi regime.
"Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust this is a long overdue step," said Rhein in a statement, reported the Local Thursday. "In the land of the perpetrators, one must not forget what happened."
Although this is the first permanent professorship for Holocaust research in Germany, many programs in both universities and independent institutes already research the Holocaust and the history of anti-Semitism in the nation, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Several of the buildings in Goethe University used to house the former headquarters of IG Farben, a Nazi-era company that manufactured Zyklon B, the pesticide used in Auschwitz gas chambers, according to the Times of Europe. The university acquired the buildings in 1998 and reopened them 2001 after renovations.
Rhein previously told the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance amid discussions to create the professorship that the ministry "certainly wants there to be a professorship for Holocaust research in Frankfurt" and that "it would be a unique feature for Frankfurt, especially with the presence of the Fritz Bauer Institut...therefore the local government wants to endeavour to support it."
The Fritz Bauer Institut was created in 1995 in Frankfurt as an independent cultural institute researching the history and impact of Nazi crimes and the Holocaust, and has been closely tied to Goethe University.