Randolph L. Braham (born 1922) is a leading American historian and political scientist. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the City College, and the Graduate Center, of the City University of New York (CCNY). A specialist in comparative politics and the Holocaust, he also is Director of the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies at the Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of over 60 books and has co-authored or written chapters in 50 others. He has also published numerous scholarly articles, the vast majority dealing with the Holocaust in Hungary.
Braham was born in Bucharest in 1922 and grew up in Dej, a small town in Transylvania. He spent 1943-45 in a labor service unit with the Hungarian army in the Ukraine and was later incarcerated in a Soviet POW camp. He came to the US in early 1948, receiving an M.A. from CCNY (1949), and a Ph.D. in political science from the The New School for Social Research (1952).
Professor Braham served as a member of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., and as a special advisor to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. His works have been used as central sources in restitution and war crimes cases in various countries, including Canada, Germany, Israel, and the United States.
His two-volume “The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary” won the 1981 Jewish National Book Award (USA). He again received Jewish National Book Award earlier this year for his three-volume “The Geographical Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary.” Among his other honors are the Order of Merit Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Republic (1995) (the highest civilian award of Hungary), the Pro Cultura Hungarica award of the Hungarian Ministry of Culture (2002), the Science for Society award of the Hungarian Academy of Science (2004), the Order of the Star of Romania, Commander Rank, of the Romanian Republic (2009), and the Medium Cross of the Republic of Hungary (2011).
In January 2014, in a widely published open letter describing what he saw as increasing attempts by Hungary's government to falsify history and whitewash the Horthy era, Prof. Braham returned his medals and resigned from the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. He also forbade the use of his name in connection with the Holocaust Information Center in Budapest. Previously, in 2005, he had resigned from the Order of the Star of Romania after a noted rightist was honored with membership.
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