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Thomas Ort
CUNY Research Foundation, Queens College (Flushing, NY 11367-1597)
The Afterlife of a Death: Meaning, Memory, and the Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich

Research and writing leading to a book on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942), Nazi governor to Bohemia and Moravia and an architect of the Final Solution.

The May 1942 assassination in Prague of Reinhard Heydrich—the second highest ranking official of the Nazi SS, one of the principal architects of the Final Solution, and the governor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia—was one of the boldest acts of resistance in World War II. It was also one of the most controversial in that it precipitated horrific mass reprisals that led to the deaths of approximately 5,000 people. The Afterlife of a Death explores the curious transformation in the Czech lands of the memory of the killing of Heydrich. Whereas in 1942 and for years thereafter the assassination was widely understood as a reckless and ill-conceived endeavor, by the 1990s it came to be celebrated as the single most important act of Czech resistance. This book project traces the shifts in its interpretation under Nazi, Communist, and liberal democratic rule, suggesting that what is commonly termed “memory” is better understood as the social framework of meaning.

Project fields:
European History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022