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Dr. Karl Schleunes, Professor Emeritus of history, died May 15.

He taught at UNCG from 1971 to 2010, when he retired. 

Dr. Schleunes was a renowned scholar of Holocaust and German Empire history, helping to establish a new field in modern historical studies during the 1960s. He pursued groundbreaking research in the Berlin Document Center and published several books, including “The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy Toward German Jews, 1933-1939,” which was called “a landmark in Holocaust historiography.”

In 1999, he was guest lecturer at the Kaplan Centre of the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He taught workshops for high school teachers across the state sponsored by the NC Council on the Holocaust. Annually in his honor, Greensboro College hosts The Schleunes Lectures which bring a well known Holocaust scholar to speak to the community.

A memorial service for Dr. Schleunes will be held June 10 at 4 p.m., at Congregational United Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive in Greensboro.

Students and colleagues of Schleunes offered the following memories: 

 “As an undergraduate at UNCG, I took Dr. Schleunes’ course on the history of the Holocaust, which changed the trajectory of my life.  I had never anticipated pursuing a master’s degree in history, but Dr. Schleunes inspired me to learn more.  As a graduate student at UNCG, I was fortunate to have Dr. Schleunes serve as my mentor as I completed my thesis on the experiences of women during the Holocaust.  As a professor, he knew how to be challenging, engaging, and effective, while maintaining a sense of humor and approachability.  As a mentor, he nurtured my ability to write, speak publicly about my graduate research, and desire to continue to learn. After graduating with my MA in history, Dr. Schleunes invited me to speak to his class about the experiences of women during the Holocaust.  This opportunity changed my life because it made me realize that I wanted to be an educator.  Without Dr. Schleunes and his tremendous influence on my life, I would not be the person or the educator that I am today.  Dr. Schleunes was an incredible professor, historian, and advocate for Holocaust education.  His legacy will continue to live on through his students and all those who he taught and inspired.” 

-Crystal Rayle ’07 MA ’09

“I and many of my colleagues here at Jackson Library, are so sad to hear of the passing of Karl Schleunes. Karl was a great friend and supporter of the University Libraries, contributing much of himself to our role in the academic mission. Karl believed in libraries and understood the value that libraries represent to the larger institution. His efforts with our Friends of the Libraries board and Jackson Society groupings reinforced that value for others as well. Karl kept a faculty research room in the Jackson Library tower and was known by so many staff as he continued to come and work here with us, share stories and engage in meaningful conversation.”

-Michael Crumpton, University Libraries

“He was an incredible professor and mentor.  With his expertise in German history, he generously coached and guided me through my contracted honors courses, so that I could graduate with disciplinary honors in history. He will be greatly missed.”

 -Melanie Brinson ’07

“Although Karl Schleunes was truly a giant among Holocaust scholars worldwide, he always valued and encouraged all of us who are dedicated to Holocaust education. He was tireless and generous in contributing his expertise to all sorts of programs designed to counteract prejudice, especially teacher education workshops and public outreach that featured Holocaust survivors. Karl’s legacy will continue in the work of the many teachers and students he touched, inspired by him to build a world that will never witness another Holocaust.”

-Dr. Roy Schwartzman

 “I took a graduate level seminar with Dr. Schleunes on Germany Between the Wars sometime around 1981.  It was a period in history I knew little about so his class was amazingly enlightening!  He had a deceptively military bearing (to me), which I found intimidating, but also lot of humor in his eyes. He was another great representative of the amazing professors teaching in UNCG’s history department at that time!  Exemplary!”  

-Katherine Hilton ’82

 
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