March 3, 2023

Inaugural Wayne State University Academy of Scholars lecture in the arts and humanities in honor of Guy Stern

The Wayne State University Academy of Scholars will host the inaugural Academy of Scholars lecture in the arts and humanities in honor of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Guy Stern.

The lecture will be held Friday, April 7, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Schaver Music Recital Hall
in Old Main, located at 480 West Hancock in Detroit. This event is open to the public.

The presentation, “Harnessing virtue in the service of cruelty: Belief, delusion and race in Nazi Germany,” will be presented by Claudia Koonz, Ph.D., Peabody Family Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University, and author of The Nazi Conscience.

Koonz’s work on Nazi Germany and the role of women during the Nazi era, from a feminist perspective, has become a subject of much debate and research. Koonz is a recipient of the PEN New England Award and is a National Book Award finalist. She appeared on the podcasts Holocaust, hosted by University of California Television, and Real Dictators, hosted by Paul McGann. In the months before the 2020 United States presidential election, Koonz wrote about the risks of autocracy in the United States for History News Network and The New School’s Public Seminar. She has received research support from the Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, German Marshall Fund of the United States, American Council for Learned Societies, National Humanities Center, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and American Academy in Berlin. Her 1987 book, Mothers in the Fatherland, was a finalist for the National Book Award nonfiction nomination; the Boston Globe-Winship Book of the Year Award; Berkshire Conference of Women Historians 1987 Book Award; Jesuit Honor Society Book of the Year; and was one of The New York Times’ and Libération’s (Paris) Best 100 Books of 1987 and 1990, respectively.

Guy Stern is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University; former provost; and founder of the Academy of Scholars. He also served as the director of the Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. Born in Germany in 1922, Stern escaped to the United States in 1937 and served in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service from 1943 to 1945 as one of the Ritchie Boys at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. He landed in Normandy three days after the D-Day invasion and was active until the Allied victory in Europe. He was decorated with the Bronze Star for his work interrogating German prisoners of war and has since been distinguished with the Grand Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the National Order of the Legion of Honour; and was interviewed in Ken Burns’s recent documentary The U.S. and the Holocaust. His memoir Invisible Ink was published by Wayne State University Press in August 2020; he recently celebrated his 101st birthday.

This event is sponsored by Wayne State University’s Academy of Scholars; Emeritus Academy; Humanities Center; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; and the Helen L. DeRoy Chair.

For additional information, please contact Professor Barrett Watten at, or Distinguished Professor Matthew Seeger at

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