Paul A. Levne

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Paul A. Levne
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Paul A. Levne

(1956-12-31)December 31, 1956
New York
DiedOctober 28, 2019(2019-10-28) (aged 62)
NationalityUnited States of America
OccupationHistorian and pedagogue

Paul A. Levine (December 31, 1956 – October 28, 2019)[1] was an American historian and pedagogue who focused on the Holocaust.[2]

He was born in New York and raised in Covina, California.

With fellow author Stéphane Bruchfeld, he wrote Tell Ye Your Children,[3] which has been translated into 18 languages. Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer called it "the best book written under 100 pages on Holocaust".

Levine developed the field of Holocaust research in Sweden and advocated for teaching about the Holocaust. Levine credited himself and fellow American Steven Koblik with starting Swedish Holocaust research and teaching. Koblik's The Stones Cry Out: Sweden's Response to the Persecution of the Jews was published in 1988, and in 1996 Levine defended his dissertation "From Indifference to Activism. Swedish Diplomacy and Holocaust 1938–1944" at the Institute for History in Uppsala after he had graduated from Rutgers University in the late 1980s.

At the beginning of 1997, Levine worked as an expert in the government commission on Jewish assets during World War II (SOU 1999: 20). On June 12, 1997, then Prime Minister Göran Persson took the initiative for a comprehensive information campaign on the Holocaust. Government agencies hired Levine and Bruchfeld in November to write what would be "... you can tell about this". Government agencies published it in early 1998 and received 160,000 orders were received by government agencies in the first week of February. Levine and Bruchfeld were involved in the work Holocaust Awareness, Remembrance and Research (ITF), the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and five years later, in 2003, in the Living History (Levande Historia) Forum. They organized three conferences: in Uppsala in 1998 on Holocaust Education; the Stockholm International Forum on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, in 2000; and the Stockholm International Forum on Combating intolerance.

Levine launched the "Program for Studies on the Holocaust and Genocide" in Uppsala in 1998 as part of the "Living History" initiative and organized it with the Center for Multiethnic Research under the direction of Harald Runblom. With Bruchfeld's support, Levine was commissioned to develop and lead teaching about the Holocaust. He also had strong support from Tania Langerova. When the first Swedish teaching position in the history of the Holocaust was announced, Levine was judged as the most qualified applicant and received the position. He was involved in and developed the Hugo Valentin Center, an independent department of the Institute of History at Uppsala University.

Levine's research focused an increase in Sweden's involvement in helping Holocaust victims that began in 1942. He was interested in causes and effects of this change from indifference to the fate of European Jewish unity to activism in favor of persecuted Jews, not least in the form of Raoul Wallenberg's activities. Levine described Swedish efforts of late autumn 1942 "bureaucratic resistance", political science term that describe the cases in which the state bureaucracy acts in different ways against the stated intentions of the political leadership, such as not translating political decisions into action. Levine saw this bureaucratic resistance in Foreign Ministry officials, whom he believed played a crucial role in reorganizing refugee policy, and in a broader sense, in Swedish relief and rescue efforts. In the latter sense, bureaucratic resistance means that one state (Sweden), with the help of its bureaucracy and its regulations (MFA, security passports, etc.), puts obstacles in the way of another state (Germany and Hungary) implementing its policies.[4]

Levine published his last major academic paper, "Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest: Myth, History and Holocaust", in 2010; the following year, it was translated into Swedish. Sharing a subject matter with the dissertation and the anthology, the work also includes an expansion of perspectives and an attempt to dig under the lionizing and present Wallenberg and his efforts in more reasonable proportions. Levine had developed an interest in the Swedish diplomat during his doctorate, when Levine worked on the Raoul Wallenberg project from 1989-1991 and conducted interviews in Sweden, Hungary, Israel, and the USA on Wallenberg's aid work from 1944 to 1945 done in Budapest. For the book and his contributions to the study of the Holocaust in general, Levine was awarded the medal of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in 2012 on Wallenberg's 100th birthday.[5]

Levine left Uppsala University and Sweden in 2014 for Berlin, where he worked as a freelance historian and writer and taught at Touro College. At the time of his death, he was working on a guide for teachers of Holocaust education and genocide, as well as a film documentary about the Armenian Genocide.


  1. "In Memory of Holocaust Scholar Paul Levine". International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2020-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. "Om detta ville Paul A Levine berätta". Dagens Nyheter (in svenska). 2019-11-17. Retrieved 2020-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Dr. Paul Levine obituary". 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2020-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Viewers to the Holocaust . A reassessment published in 2002 in collaboration with British historian and Holocaust expert David Cesarani.
  5. "Uppsala historian Paul A. Levine awarded Raoul Wallenberg Foundation medal". Uppsala University. 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2020-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

"Paul A. Levine In memoriam" in Svenska kommittén mot antisemitism (SKMA) by Lars M Andersson, Dag Blanck, Stéphane Bruchfeld, Mats Deland, Karin Kvist Geverts, Heléne Lööw, Christer Mattsson, Pontus Rudberg, Malin Thor Tureby, published 17/11-2019.

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