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Andrew Wisely

Research Fellow (02/2020–06/2020)


Between Auschwitz and Frankfurt. The Deception and Exception of SS Doctor Franz Lucas (1911–1994)


WISELYThis project examines Dr. Franz Bernhard Lucas (1911–1994), an SS camp and troop doctor who served for sixteen months in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Mauthausen, Stutthof, Ravensbrück, and Sachsenhausen. In the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial (1963–1965) he denied having selected Jews on the Birkenau ramp in 1944, then admitted to doing so under pressure. His putative fear and the glowing testimony of Ravensbrück survivors mitigated his punishment and secured his acquittal in 1970. The trial anchors my book without dominating it. A more comprehensive portrait of Lucas requires university records, interrogations, other trial transcripts, testimonies, letters, officer files, and camp records. These help us understand his formation in the ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ and his eugenic actions against its racial outsiders. My book conceives of Lucas as a Januskopf – looking forward and backward, at once reluctant and opportunistic. Examples of deception offset reports of Lucas’s exceptionalism and entanglement. I also illuminate the culture of amnesty and victimisation in the 1950s and 1960s that delayed the acceptance of responsibility and remorse toward the true victims.


Andrew Wisely is Associate Professor of German at Baylor University, where he teaches all levels of German and co-directs a study abroad programme in Dresden. He is the author of Arthur Schnitzler and Twentieth-Century Criticism (2004). He has published articles on sterilisation, trauma, and confessional modes. His research and teaching interests include Austrian literature, medical literary discourses and ethics, testimony, postwar justice, perpetrator rhetoric, and trauma.

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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