Journal of Genocide Research (2008), 10(1), March, 1 – 2

From the Editors: academia and genocide—degrees of culpability
The university is a fragile entity; of all of society’s institutions, it is the most vulnerable to state manipulation, especially during genocidal crises. This was especially true during the decade of National Socialist rule in Germany. With virtually no exception, faculty senates of all German universities meekly complied to Party wishes to purge themselves of their “non-Aryan” colleagues, thereby literally losing their moral authenticity. And, when war brought down the Third Reich, one of the first organizations to emerge seemingly unscathed from the ruins were the universities. With but a few instances, faculty senates rapidly reconstituted themselves; it was business (lecturing and researching) as usual. Accountability, if any, was sparse. Little, if anything at all, was said about the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of graduates who had engaged in war crimes. Those bearing professional degrees— physicians, lawyers, engineers—and who worked directly with the machinery of the Final Solution were allowed to retain their diplomas. Nothing was said about the violation of the universities’ humanistic traditions. To this day, rosters of past graduates—criminals or not—include the names side by side. Is this right? Is this just? Is it honest history or camouflage? Are there no limits to a university diploma? Or may the institution, if warranted, revoke a degree? Indeed, most of the upper ranks of the Nazi elite were university graduates from world class universities. Keeping in mind that Hitler (not a university graduate) was not excommunicated and died within the bosom of the Church, then why deprive his henchmen of their hard-earned degrees and the status that accompanies the honour of a degree? Why indeed! Should not every German university excise from its records those who sullied the good name of the institution? Moreover, should not this principle of expunging of criminal graduates be applied to all universities who gave and continue to bestow their honours and academic blessings to murderous tyrants? Until they do so, the charge of collaborating stands. Is it not high time to make inventories of those associated with universities and state induced mass criminality? It should not be overlooked that the masterminds of the Khmer Rouge genocidal massacres were all university trained. The same holds true of the politicians who were architects of the violent break up of Yugoslavia. All the radical ethno-leaders had academic degrees. It is the same for Rwanda’s Hutu virulent anti-Tutsi campaigners. It holds true for the mass Sudanese murderers in Kabul. Should they not be stripped of their academic recognition? Which leads to related questions that deserve our serious attention, especially those of us engaged in university instruction.
ISSN 1462-3528 print; ISSN 1469-9494 online/08/010001-2 # 2008 Research Network in Genocide Studies DOI: 10.1080/14623520701850245

Henry R. Preliminary discussions took place in an ad hoc seminar.FROM THE EDITORS What is it about liberal university education that excites the authoritarian genocidal mind? Is it the prominent tendency to politicize on the part of the professoriate? Is it the lack of balanced critique? As academia moves from genocide studies to genocide prevention. Universities need to reassert their moral standing and humanistic responsibility. In this endeavour. in particular in an age of techno-driven curricula. Huttenbach Nota bene. finding satisfactory answers becomes more and more compelling. The above thoughts and comments were originally spawned in March 2003 in Sweden on the occasion of being conferred a doctorate honoris causa by Uppsala University. 2 . beginning with their systematic and forthright disassociation from the perpetrators of genocide. Let it begin with asking uncomfortable questions. transparency and accountancy go hand in hand. Hence the need to come to terms with their past failures. It is to be hoped that these hectoring paragraphs will instigate a thorough scholarly investigation in order to redeem the essence of the spirit of each and every institute of higher learning.