Book on Nazis and Islam scoops Fraenkel Prize

  • October 10, 2014
Book on Nazis and Islam scoops Fraenkel Prize

David Motadel has been awarded one of the most prestigious prizes in contemporary European history.

A Gates Cambridge alumnus has been awarded one of the most prestigious prizes in contemporary European history.

David Motadel [2006], who finished his PhD in History in 2010, has won The Fraenkel Prize for his book manuscript, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War.

The book, which will be published by Harvard University Press later this month, is based on David’s PhD dissertation which was supported by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. It details how in the most crucial phase of the Second World War, German troops, fighting in regions as far apart as the Sahara and the Caucasus, confronted the Allies across lands largely populated by Muslims. The book shows how Nazi officials saw Islam as a powerful force with the same enemies as Germany: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Jews and how German officials tried to promote the Third Reich as a patron of Islam.

It explores Berlin’s policies and propaganda in the Muslim war zones, and the extensive work that authorities undertook for the recruitment, spiritual care and ideological indoctrination of tens of thousands of Muslim volunteers who fought in the Wehrmacht and the SS.

The book is described as “the first comprehensive account of Berlin’s ambitious attempts to build an alliance with the Islamic world”. Drawing on archival research in three continents, it reveals how German troops on the ground in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Eastern front engaged with diverse Muslim populations, including Muslim Roma and Jewish converts to Islam. It shows the profound impact of the Second World War on Muslims around the world and its publisher claims it provides “a new understanding of the politics of religion in the bloodiest conflict of the twentieth century”.

The $4,000 Fraenkel Prize is awarded for an outstanding work of twentieth-century history in one of The Wiener Library’s fields of interest, including: The History of Europe, Jewish History, The Two World Wars, Antisemitism, Comparative Genocide and Political Extremism. The Wiener Library is the world’s oldest Holocaust archive and Britain’s largest collection on the Nazi era. David is currently a Research Fellow in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

Picture credit: David Motadel.

Latest News

Provost wins top Royal Society award

Gates Cambridge Provost Professor Barry Everitt has been selected for the Royal Society’s premier award in the biological sciences. Professor Barry Everitt FMedSci FRS has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture 2021 for his research on the application of his findings on brain mechanisms of motivation to important societal issues, such as drug addiction. […]

Addressing energy injustice in the Global South

A new framework which uses artificial intelligence to analyse textual data on energy use and behaviour could help policymakers develop a deeper understanding of energy injustices in the Global South. The study, Grounded reality meets machine learning: A deep-narrative analysis framework for energy policy research, was led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018] and is published in the journal Energy Research […]

Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power. Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which […]

Developing a farm for impact model

Shadrack Frimpong has not yet started his PhD, but already his and his team’s work has earned him awards from the Queen, the Clinton Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Foundation. The awards are for their outstanding work in creating a potential new development model for rural crop-growing communities starting from Shadrack’s own village in Ghana. […]