News | 9 March 2012

Peter Kenez to Deliver Annual UCSC Spring Emeriti Faculty Lecture


Peter Kenez

UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor of history Peter Kenez


History professor and co-holder of Neufeld-Levin Chair in Holocaust Studies to share his research

A Holocaust survivor and native of Hungary, Peter Kenez is a scholar of the history of Russia and the former Soviet Union.

He is currently working on a book-length study of the Holocaust–a comparative study of the prerequisites for mass murder in countries occupied by the Nazis during the second world war.

On March 15, Kenez will present the annual UC Santa Cruz Emeriti Lecture at 7 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall, speaking on the topic: “The Coming of the Holocaust.”

“I will talk about the conditions of Nazi success: modern anti-semitism, totalitarian society, war…” said Kenez. “To what extent can we correlate Nazi success in killing to pre-existing anti-semitism.”

He said that the lecture will be drawn from his book-in-progress, The Coming of the Holocaust.

“I think of this book as an extended essay,” Kenez noted. “But I believe that it might be assigned reading in Holocaust courses.”

A founding faculty member of Stevenson College at UC Santa Cruz, Kenez received his Ph.D. from Harvard.

He is the author of several books, including A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End and the autobiographical Varieties of Fear: Growing Up Jewish Under Nazism and Communism.

Kenez retired last year after more than four decades of teaching at UCSC. As an emeriti professor, he hopes to still teach a few courses and seminars at UCSC in the coming years on Russian, Eastern-European, and 20th-century European history.

Following the emeriti lecture, he also plans to begin research on another book project.

“Next month I will go to Hungary for four weeks and work in the archives on a new book, The Gloomy Years of Communism: Hungary, 1948-1953,” Kenez noted.

After 40-plus years at UCSC, he reflected on his long tenure at the campus.

“I am a UCSC patriot,” said Kenez. “This campus was good to me.”

Professor of History Peter Kenez will present the annual UC Santa Cruz Emeriti Lecture on Thursday, March 15, at the UCSC Music Recital Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. He will speak on the topic: “The Coming of the Holocaust.” Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call (831) 459-5003.
Written by Scott Rappaport