Professor of History and German, Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor of Holocaust Studies Emeritus
Principal Research Interest(s): Modern Germany, Holocaust and Genocide
Peter Hayes (Ph.D., Yale, 1982) specializes in the histories of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and, in particular, in the conduct of the nation’s largest corporations during the Third Reich. He taught at Northwestern for thirty-six years from 1980 to 2016, in the process winning the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award, the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence, the University’s highest honor for teaching. His alma mater, Bowdoin College, also has honored him with its Distinguished Bowdoin Educator Award. The recipient of numerous research fellowships and a former member of the academic boards of several professional societies and Holocaust memorial sites, Prof. Hayes currently serves as the chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Prof. Hayes is the author or editor of twelve books. They include the prize-winning Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era (1987, 2001) and Lessons and Legacies: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World (1991). From 2006 to 2010, he served as the only American member of the Independent Historians Commission on the History of the German Foreign Office in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic, which resulted in the publication of a bestseller in Germany entitled Das Amt und die Vergangenheit. Most recently, he has produced three major works on the Holocaust: The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies (co-edited with John K. Roth, 2010), an extensive anthology called How Was It Possible? A Holocaust Reader (2015), and a compact analytical synthesis, Why? Explaining the Holocaust, that W. W. Norton & Company released in 2017. He is currently writing (with Stephan Lindner of Munich) Profits and Persecution: German Big Business in the Third Reich, which is under contract in English with Cambridge University Press and in German with Beck Verlag.
Recent Awards and Honors
In November 2016, Prof. Hayes received a Distinguished Achievement Award in Holocaust Studies from the Holocaust Educational Foundation at the Fourteenth biannual Lessons & Legacies Conference in Claremont, CA.