The City College of New York

The series of lectures, conversations, film showings, exhibitions, and courses brings together faculty, students, and staff at CCNY and the New York City community to examine human rights through multiple lenses.


Thursday, February 27, 2014
6:30 p.m.
The City College of New York
Shepard Hall, Room 558

Take 1 train to 137th Street and walk up 137th Street, Shepard Hall is the Gothic Building on Convent Avenue between 138th and 139th Streets; or, A, C, B, D to 145th and walk south on Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall is the Gothic Building on Convent Avenue between 138th and 139th Streets

“Search for Josef Mengele,” with David Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, in conversation with John C. Torpey, Professor, PhD Programs in Sociology and History and Director, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies Graduate Center, CUNY, moderated by Eric D. Weitz, Dean of Humanities and Arts, Professor of History, The City College of New York

As the Chief of Investigative Research at the U.S. Department of Justice, Dr. Marwell was deeply involved in the search for Josef Mengele. Marwell will describe the international manhunt and forensic investigation into the whereabouts and identification of the infamous Auschwitz doctor using newly declassified, and previously unknown material from the case files. Illustrated with unpublished photographs and documents, this talk will take you behind the scenes of one of the largest and most complex historical and forensic investigations ever undertaken.

Photo: Melanie Einzig

Photo: Melanie Einzig

The subject of the Holocaust and its meaning in contemporary society has been a focal point of Dr. David G. Marwell’s career since 1980.  He served as the Chief of Investigative Research at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Investigations, where he conducted historical research in support of prosecution of Nazi war criminals living in the United States. He also played a major role in the Justice Department’s investigations of Klaus Barbie and Josef Mengele. From 1988 to 1994, Dr. Marwell was the Director of the Berlin Document Center, where he managed the center’s 25 million Nazi-era personnel files, and subsequently oversaw the transfer of the center’s administration to the German government.

Since joining the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in 2000 as Director, Dr. Marwell has overseen the Museum’s capital expansion (an 82,000 SF addition) as well as its programmatic expansion to include JewishGen and the Auschwitz Jewish Center. He became president of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation in 2006. 

Prior to coming to New York, Dr. Marwell was the Associate Director for Museum Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where he supervised the museum’s educational programs, museum services, collections, exhibitions, and the expansion of the Museum’s technological and web-based information services. Preceding his tenure at the USHMM, Dr. Marwell was the Executive Director of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board from 1994-1997.

He has also served as an expert witness and consultant to the governments of Canada and Australia on several war crimes prosecutions, and was a member of the Interagency Working Group for Nazi War Criminal Documents. He is a member of the U.S. Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Dr. Marwell is a graduate of Brandeis University with a B.A. in English and of the State University of New York at Binghamton with a Ph.D. in Modern European History.  

Dr. Marwell is married and the father of two sons.


John Torpey is Professor of Sociology and History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and (from January 2014) Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center.  He is the author or editor of eight books: Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995); The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State (New York: Cambridge UP, 2000; French, Portuguese, and Japanese translations); Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World (edited with Jane Caplan; Princeton: Princeton UP, 2001); Politics and the Past: On Repairing Historical Injustices (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe: Transatlantic Relations after the Iraq War (edited with Daniel Levy and Max Pensky; Verso, 2005; Japanese and Chinese translations), Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics (Harvard UP, 2006; Japanese translation forthcoming); The Post-Secular in Question (co-edited with Philip S. Gorski, David Kyuman Kim, and Jonathan van Antwerpen; New York: New York University Press, 2012); and, with Christian Joppke, Legal Integration of Islam: A Transatlantic Comparison (Harvard UP 2013). In addition to many book chapters and reviews, his articles have appeared in Theory and Society, Journal of Modern History, Sociological Theory, Sociological Forum, Political Power and Social Theory, Journal of Classical Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Genèses: Sciences sociales et histoire, Journal of Human Rights, Dissent, Contexts, openDemocracy, Frankfurter Rundschau, The Nation, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Professor Torpey has taught, lectured, or done research in some 35 countries, including Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Namibia, and throughout Europe and North America. His work has been translated into nine different languages. He has held fellowships from the German Marshall Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). In Spring 2010, he was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, Austria. During 1995-1996, he was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and in 1992-1993, he was the James Bryant Conant Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University.


Eric D. Weitz is Dean of Humanities and Arts and Professor of History at The City College of New York. He was previously on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he was Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History and the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts. Trained in modern European and German history, his work in recent years has extended to the history and politics of international human rights and crimes against humanity. He received his Ph.D. from Boston University in 1983. Weitz has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others.  His major publications include Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (2007; second expanded edition 2013), A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (2003), and Creating German Communism, 1890-1990 (1997), all with Princeton University Press. Weimar Germany was named an "Editor's Choice" by The New York Times Book Review, and was included in the "Year in Books" of The Financial Times (London) and "The Best Books of 2007" of The Independent (London). It has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, and Chinese. In 2006 Weitz initiated a book series with Princeton University Press, Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity. He is currently writing, A World Divided: A Global History of Nations and Human Rights from the Age of Revolution to the Present.

Caroline Earp

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