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History Department
History Department

Waitman Wade Beorn


Louis and Frances Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Executive Director, Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Education Fund Board

Assistant Professor of History

287L ASH, 402-554-2604 (email)

Dr. Beorn received his PhD from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill under the direction of Christopher Browning. His book Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus explores the participation of the German Army in the Holocaust in the occupied Soviet Union. He explains both how the Wehrmacht became so deeply complicit in the Nazi genocidal project as well as what that involvement actually looked like on the ground in the East.

It is a desire to understand and explain how seemingly ordinary individuals can become killers that drives Dr. Beorn’s research in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. His focus on the local level of genocide stems from his belief that issues of ideology and policy become increasingly complex and nuanced at that scale. This contention has led him to also focus on issues of sexual and financial exploitation, friendship, and rescue. Dr. Beorn is currently working on a major project focused on the Janowska concentration in Lviv in modern-day Ukraine.

Dr. Beorn is incredibly honored to serve as the inaugural Louis and Frances Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at UNO. With the support of the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Education Fund and the remarkable Sam Fried, he is excited to collaborate with other scholars and institutions in the Midwest in the creation of an integrated network for Holocaust and Genocide studies.

Dr. Beorn is particularly active in several other programs outside of UNO. For the past seven years, he has instructed cadets from the U.S. service academies in ethical military decision-making in the American Service Academy Program sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Auschwitz Jewish Center. In addition, he often works as a consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, particularly with its department of Civic and Defense Initiatives. His scholarship has been used by the museum in its educational and outreach programs. Lastly, he is very proud to have been included in an interdisciplinary group of remarkable scholars who are engaged in exploring how geography and history can work together to both ask and answer new questions of the Holocaust.

A 2000 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Beorn served as a tank platoon leader before deploying to Iraq in 2003 as a scout platoon leader and later Assistant Squadron Operations officer. As a veteran, he is particularly honored to serve now as the Blumkin Professor of Holocaust Genocide Studies, a position endowed in recognition of the WWII service of Louis Blumkin who was also a liberator of several Nazi concentration camps.

Frequently Taught Courses
History of the Holocaust
Comparative Genocide
Modern German History
World Civilization 1650- Present

Professional Website

Sam and Frances Fried Foundation Holocaust and Genocide Education Fund
To contribute to the Fried Fund, please click here!

USHMM Holocaust Geographies Project

Clio, one of the nine Greek muses, was later referred to as the Muse of History. A daughter of Zeus, Clio was highly regarded for her brilliant poetry and heroic acts. Her image usually includes a parchment scroll (an ancient source of record), a set of tablets (another ancient source of records), books, and/or a clarion (or trumpet). In her hair, she wears a laurel wreath. The image of Clio on this web page was taken from a 17th centurypainting by Francesco Furini entitled Clio, the Muse of History.