Feldman, Gerald D. 1937-2007 (Gerald Donald Feldman)

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Feldman, Gerald D. 1937-2007 (Gerald Donald Feldman)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 24, 1937, in New York, NY; died of cancer, October 31, 2007, in Berkeley, CA. Historian, economist, political scientist, educator, administrator, and author. Feldman was known for his research on the relationship between German money-brokers and the exploitation of the German people at key periods in the modern history of the country. The book Army, Industry, and Labor in Germany, 1914-1918 (1966) explores the collaboration between business and political interests during World War I. The Great Disorder: Politics, Economics, and Society in the German Inflation, 1914-1924 (1993) looks at a gargantuan collusion between the government and the banking industry that, according to Feldman, intentionally and systematically devalued the country's currency to the point where an entire citizenry was cheated of its economic security. He then focused his attention on the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, working with an international team that uncovered proof that the German banking giant, Deutsche Bank, had financed the construction of concentration camps like Auschwitz. In Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945 (2001), Feldman exposes the German (and later Austrian) insurance industry, which not only insured concentration camps (after touring them, so there could be no future claim of ignorance about what was happening there), but also transferred life insurance proceeds intended for Jewish beneficiaries to Nazi authorities. In combination, these books imply a history of moral bankruptcy that favored the bottom line of both government and financial institutions over a period of decades. He also coedited Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business, and the Organization of the Holocaust (2004). Feldman wrote on other, less controversial topics as well, including German history from 1400 to the present. His last publication, as coeditor, was Finance and Modernization: A Transnational and Transcontinental Perspective for the 19th and 20th Centuries (2008). Feldman spent most of his career, more than forty years, as a professor (later Jane K. Sather Professor) of history at the University of California in Berkeley, where he also directed the Center for German and European Studies, which is now a part of the Institute of European Studies. He was a consultant to U.S. and German academic and government bodies, including the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. In his long career he wrote or edited nearly thirty books in both English and German. Feldman's exhaustive research and scholarly integrity earned him numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic. He received book awards from both the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and the Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. He was named the Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin in 1998.



New York Times, November 15, 2007, p. C19.