Gerald J. Steinacher

James A. Rawley Professor of History Profile Image
James A. Rawley Professor of History History 402-472-2414 628 Oldfather Hall


Gerald J. Steinacher is the James A. Rawley Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). His research focuses on modern European history with an emphasis on the Holocaust, and on modern German, Italian and Austrian history. He has published fifteen books and written over one hundred book chapters and journal articles on a wide range of topics such as Nazi perpetrators and postwar justice; the Vatican and the Holocaust; the history of espionage in WWII and the Early Cold War; anti-Nazi resistance groups; Italian Fascism and its policies against minorities, as well as the architecture of Italian Fascism; European antisemitism in past and present; refugees and migration after WWII; and humanitarianism in the 20th century. Steinacher’s research has been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, and the German weekly Der Spiegel, among others.

Steinacher’s 2011 book Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice examines the post-war fate of Nazis and Holocaust perpetrators and the institutions facilitating their escape from Europe. The book was published by Oxford University Press in 2011 and has been translated into several languages. It was awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. Steinacher’s most recent monograph, Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. The book explores the lessons learned by the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross from its handling of the Holocaust, as well as the ensuing policy changes of the organization regarding genocide and victims of war.

Steinacher’s current research project, under the working title The Pope Against Nuremberg: Nazi War Crimes Trials, the Vatican and the Question of Postwar Justice, examines the attitude of the Catholic Church leadership towards Nazi war criminals and the denazification of Germany in the first post-war decade. Steinacher’s research displays the Vatican’s efforts to obstruct Allied justice and analyzes church alternatives to retributive justice as a way of dealing with guilt and responsibility after World War II and the Holocaust. At the heart and center of this book are the questions of how a society can move forward after dictatorship, war and genocide. Steinacher is also the co-editor of the series Contemporary Holocaust Studies published with the University of Nebraska Press. He is currently working on the third volume in the series, Fascism: Now and Then.

Steinacher has held many distinguished research fellowships and visiting professorships. These include fellowships at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), at the Institute for Contemporary History (Munich), and at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies. In 2006, he was a visiting fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and since then has continued to work closely with the Museum’s education and research programs. He has also held visiting professorships at the Universities of Munich, Uppsala, Passau, Lucerne and at the Central European University in Vienna.

Steinacher teaches classes on the Holocaust, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, modern Jewish history, modern German history, the history of immigration, digital history and intelligence and espionage history.

  • Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Südtirol und die Geheimdienste 1943-1945 (Vienna: Studienverlag, 2000).

Ph.D. in History, University of Innsbruck, 1999
M.A. in History and Political Sciences, University of Innsbruck, 1995


Nazi Germany;
Italian Fascism;
Jewish History;
Intelligence and Espionage History


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