Braham, Randolph Louis

views updated


BRAHAM, RANDOLPH LOUIS (1922– ), historian of the Holocaust, distinguished professor emeritus of political science at the City College of New York and the doctoral program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Braham was born in Bucharest (Romania) and lived until 1943 in Dej (Transylvania), from where he was sent by the Hungarian authorities to serve in a military forced labor battalion as a Jew who was not allowed to serve in his country's armed forces. Shortly after World War ii he left for the United States, where he began his academic studies in comparative politics. After obtaining his Ph.D., he began to study the history of the Holocaust of Central European Jewry. His best-known work is The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary (19942). Studies on the Holocaust, two volumes of his selected writings, appeared in 2000 and 2001 and he edited numerous volumes on the subject.

Among other things Braham discusses the disillusionment of the Jews of Northern Transylvania, who believed that the Hungary they encountered in 1940 was the Hungary they had known before 1919. They soon discovered that the antisemitic laws enacted there after 1919 were no better than those enacted in Romania between 1919 and 1940 and found themselves delivered into the hands of the Nazis by those same Hungarians in whose nobility they had fervently believed. Another subject dealt with by Braham is the role played by the Romanian authorities under Antonescu in the murder of between 290,000 and 390,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews, and which the post-1948 Communist regime tried to avoid recognizing. Braham was decorated by the presidents of both Hungary and Romania.

[Paul Schveiger (2nd ed.)]