Margalit, Gilad 1959–

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Margalit, Gilad 1959–


Born 1959, in Haifa, Israel. Education: Hebrew University, Jerusalem, B.A. (cum laude), 1984, M.A. (cum laude), 1989, Ph.D., 1996.


Office—Department of General History, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail—[email protected].


Historian, educator, writer, and editor. University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel, senior lecturer.


Jacob Talmon Award, 1995, for the best dissertation in history; Jacob Bahat Award, 2005, for the best original book of study; recipient of scholarships, including from the German Academic Exchange Service, 1991-93; Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 1993-94; and Alexander von Humboldt Scholarship at the Simon Dubnow Institute, University of Leipzig, Germany, 2001-02.


Yah Ha-hì£evrah Ha-Germanit U-mosdoteha Sheleahì£ar 1945 La-Tsoanim Ule-redifatam Ba-Raikh Ha-Shelishi, h. mo. l. (Jerusalem, Israel), 1995.

Antigypsyism in the Political Culture of the Federal Republic of Germany: A Parallel with Antisemitism?, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Israel), 1996.

"Germanyah ha-aheret" veha-Tsoanim: Yehasam shel Ha-Germanim ahare 1945 li-redifat ha-Tsoanim ba-Raikh ha-shelishi, Hotsaæat sefarim a. sh. Y.L. Magnes (Jerusalem, Israel), 1998.

Die Nachkriegsdeutschen und "ihre Zigeuner." Die Behandlung der Sinti und Roma Im Schatten von Auschwitz, Metropol (Berlin, Germany), 2001, translation published as Germany and Its Gypsies: A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2002.

(With Yfaat Weiss) Zikaron ve-Shikhhah: Germanyah veha-Shoah, ha-Kibuts ha-me æuhad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2005.

Ashmah, Sevel ve-zikaron: Germanyah Zokheret Et Meteha Be-Milhemet Ha-olam Ha-sheniyah, Hotsa æat ha-sefarim shel Universitat Hefah (Hefah, Israel), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Challenging Ethnic Citizenship: German and Israeli Perspectives on Immigration, edited by Daniel Levy and Yfaat Weiss, Berghahn, 2002; Remembering the Holocaust in Germany 1945-2000: German Strategies and Jewish Responses, edited by Dan Michman, Peter Lang Publishing, 2002; Narrative der Shoah: Representationen der Vergangenheit in Historiographie, Kunst und Politik, edited by Susanne Dwell and Mathias Schmidt, Ferdinand Schönning, 2002; Sinti, Roma, Gypsies. Sprache-Geschichte-Gegenwart, edited by Yaron Matras, Hans Winterberg, Michael Zimmermann, Metropol Verlag, 2003; Les habits neufs de l'antisemitisme en Europe, edited by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Shmuel Trigano, Editions Cafe Noir, 2004; and Les diasporas: 2000 ans d'histoire, by Lisa Anteby, William Berthomière, Gabriel Sheffer, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005. Contributor to journals, including Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-semitism, Patterns of Prejudice, German History, WerkstattGeschichte, Romani Studies, and German Politics and Society.


Gilad Margalit is a historian whose research interests include coming to terms with the Nazi past in postwar Germany, anti-Semitism, and German attitudes and policies towards ethnic minorities, primarily the Jews, Turks and the Sinti and Roma Gypsies. The author has written extensively about these subjects in both journals and books.

Margalit writes about the Gypsy ordeal in Germany in his book Germany and Its Gypsies: A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal. In the book, the author discusses a continuation of the persecution of Gypsies following World War II via attacks on their culture and way of life. Anthony Kauders, writing in Central European History, noted that the author "has provided us with a very learned book, full of important details and interesting discussions." The author presents a comprehensive look at the history of Gypsies in Germany. "Gilad Margalit's study of the Gypsies in postwar Germany will be welcomed by historians and other scholars interested in postwar Germany, the fate of the Gypsies, the politics of victim identity, and the persistence of stereotypes," wrote Gregory F. Schroeder in H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. "The author provides insights into East Germany, but devotes primary attention to the Federal Republic and the place of Gypsies in West German political culture and society."

In the book, the author uncovers the painful record of the official German treatment of Gypsies. He begins with the heightened racism of the nineteenth century and follows the story on through to the National Socialist genocidal policies that resulted in the murder of most German Gypsies and many others. He also examines the shifting attitudes in the two Germanys created following the end of World War II as well as attitudes in the modern unified Germany. He addresses pivotal historic events, and legal arguments concerning the status of the German Gypsies. He also provides an overall view of the issues of ethnic groups and their victimization in society. "He leads the reader through the gruesome Nazi and postwar years, where he spells out—from a Romani (Gypsy) perspective—the destructive, painful, and still unresolved events of the twentieth century," wrote Margaret H. Beissinger in Monatshefte. "The result is a powerful exposition of the complex web of Nazi and post-Nazi official policies and debates concerning German Gypsies."

The author notes that life changed very little for the Gypsies in Germany following World War II. They continued to suffer discrimination, often at the hands of officials from the Third Reich who remained in charge. These officials and other more recent officials have used Nazi records of Gypsies to identify people belonging to this group. According to the author, official policy remained largely based on racial stereotypes until the 1960s when Gypsies were finally recognized as also suffering persecution under the Nazis. The author writes in his book that although the Germans "absorbed certain liberal principles" from the Allies following World War II, "they still have maintained discriminatory patterns and even certain racist elements." The author further notes that the Germans appear much less guilty about the persecution of Gypsies than about the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Writing in the book's preface, the author notes: "The question is which … more truly represents the ‘German attitude’ toward the Nazi persecuted and despised minority—the conservative bigot or the enlightened liberal." The author then writes: "The study of German preoccupation with various aspects of Nazi persecution of Gypsies and its implications for German society, culture, and institutions can afford us perhaps not answers but at least a perspective on two central and interlocked questions that have intensely engaged the minds of both Germans and non-Germans since the collapse of the Nazi regime on 8 May 1945: How did Germans confront and come to terms with their own Nazi past: Was there in the ‘New Germany’ any continuation of institutions or patterns of government activity that had existed before the collapse of Nazism?"

The author also writes about people who took up the Gypsy cause. In the process, he examines a 1979 campaign for equal civil rights. However, he notes that the Gypsies still found that they were treated more like objects than German subjects, even by those who appeared to take up their cause. Many of these people had their own agendas, from revitalizing the Holocaust to promoting a view of Germans as victims during World War II. As the author notes in the book's epilogue: "Later in the postwar period another phenomenon appeared. As the German collective memory was concentrated on the Jewish Holocaust, the subjectively less burdened character of the persecution of Gypsies enabled some individuals and groups in Germany to manipulate the situation. They used the relative inattention to the Nazi persecution of Gypsies as a pretext to attack German preoccupation with the Jewish Holocaust. By this means certain religious and secular circles could protest against the alleged unique status Jews enjoyed in postwar German political culture."

Germany and Its Gypsies received high praise from reviewers. "The Israeli historian Gilad Margalit's study breaks new ground," wrote Peter Widmann in the Journal of Social History. "In recent years, several books and essays have been published in both German and English concerning genocide perpetrated by the National Socialists against the Sinti and Roma, the German Gypsies. In contrast, scant academic attention has been paid to the post war history of those who survived, and to the way in which the majority of the German populace dealt with this historical legacy." In a review of Germany and Its Gypsies in the Journal of European Studies, Joachim Whaley noted that the Roma and Sinti Gypsies have been incorporated into the modern European Union. He added: "Anyone who reads Margalit's book will be readily convinced that the way they are treated will present a fundamental challenge to the so-called European values that EU leaders are so fond of invoking."



Central European History, September 22, 2003, Anthony Kauders, review of Die Nachkriegsdeutschen und "ihre Zigeuner." Die Behandlung der Sinti und Roma Im Schatten von Auschwitz, p. 627.

German Studies Review, October 1, 2002, Valentina Glajar, review of Die Nachkriegsdeutschen und "ihre Zigeuner," p. 644.

Journal of European Studies, March 1, 2005, Joachim Whaley, review of Germany and Its Gypsies: A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal, p. 138.

Journal of Social History, June 22, 2005, Peter Widmann, review of Germany and Its Gypsies, p. 1157.

Monatshefte, spring, 2005, Margaret H. Beissinger, review of Germany and Its Gypsies, pp. 148-150.

Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2003, review of Germany and Its Gypsies, p. 49.


Haaretz, (August 30, 2007), Aviva Lori, "Dresden vs. Auschwitz."

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (April 1, 2004), Gregory F. Schroeder, review of Germany and Its Gypsies.

University of Haifa Department of General History Web site, (April 18, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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Margalit, Gilad 1959–

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