An American historian at James Madison College of Michigan State University has been appointed as the 2011-12 Myron and Margaret Winegarden Visiting Professor at UM-Flint.
Kenneth Waltzer, Ph.D., attended SUNY Binghamton’s Harpur College, and was a Graduate Prize Fellow and earned a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. He joined MSU in 1971 and helped build the highly reputed James Madison College, where he later served as dean and associate dean. Waltzer also served as director of General Education in the arts and humanities at MSU. He is currently Director of MSU’s Jewish Studies Program. He received a State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award in 1990 and an Alumni Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award in 1998.
Waltzer began his social history research in American urban and immigration history. His American Identity Explorer: Immigration and Migration CD-ROM [with Kathleen Geissler] (McGraw-Hill, 1999, 2001) follows seven migrating groups through four portals to America into immigrant and migrant neighborhoods in six American cities during the Ellis Island era.
More recently, he has become an internationally known historian of the Holocaust, focusing on American and American Jewish responses to the destruction of European Jewry, on rescue in Europe, and on the experiences of children and youths in the concentration camps. He is preparing two books, Telling the Story: The Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald, and Children’s Stories: Stories About Youths in the Nazi Concentration Camps. He is also studying changes in global anti-Semitism and the impact of the re-emergence of anti-Semitism on Jewish life.
Waltzer has been in the news as the Holocaust researcher who discovered that a survivor memoir titled Angel at the Fence – soon to be a movie – was a Holocaust memoir fraud. He is also currently consultant to Big Foot Productions in New York, which is making a film about kinderblock 66 at Buchenwald and the rescue of children and youths inside a concentration camp.
Most of Waltzer’s activities will occur in winter 2012; however, he will be on campus a few times in the fall. A Welcome Reception is planned for November 1.