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Theodore Hamerow, Class of 1938

Theodore Stephen Hamerow, G. P. Gooch Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, died on Saturday, February 16, 2013.
Ted was born in Warsaw, Poland, on August 24, 1920. His parents, Chaim Shneyer and Bella Hamerow, were actors in the great Yiddish Vilna Troupe playing in Europe until 1925 when they emigrated to America. Ted lived with his grandmother in Poland and Germany until 1930 when he was reunited with his parents and they returned to New York . He was educated in the public schools of New York and graduated in 1938 from the elite Townsend Harris High School and from the City College of New York in 1942. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1943 to 1946 as an infantryman and in the military police as a translator.

After the war, he attended Columbia University, where he earned his M.A. in 1947, and Yale, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1951. He taught briefly at Wellesley and the University of Maryland’s European program in Germany, and from 1952 to 1958 at the University of Illinois, when he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. He taught at Wisconsin from 1958 to 1991 and served as department chair from 1973 to 1976. He was a Fulbright Research Scholar in 1962-63 and was chair of the Modern European History Section of the American Historical Association in 1978. He was one of the founders of The Historical Society, which makes an award annually in his name for the best dissertation in European History, and he was a member of the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1992-2000.

Ted was a prolific writer throughout his career and well past retirement, with a specialty in the history of Imperial Germany. His first book was Restoration, Revolution, Reaction: Economics and Politics in Germany, 1815-1871 (1958). This was followed by numerous books that he authored or edited, and he was particularly known for his two-volume Social Foundations of German Unification, 1858?1871 (1969, 1972). In the years after retiring, he published work on the 20th century, including On the Road to the Wolf’s Lair: German Resistance to Hitler (1997) and Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust (2008). In 2001 he published a memoir of his very early years up to 1930 entitled Remembering a Vanished World: A Jewish Childhood in Interwar Poland.

Ted well knew how fortunate he was to live in this country, which gave him the opportunity to thrive as a scholar and teacher and he worked diligently to assure this opportunity to others. He was known for his moral courage, always willing to speak up for what he believed was right even if his position was unpopular. He was a patriot in the finest sense of the word.

Ted is survived by his beloved wife Diane, his daughters, Judith Fielden (Peter) of Holbury, England, and Helena Hamerow (Eric Brown) of Oxford, England, step sons Joel and Jeff (Elisabeth) Franzen and by his 2 grandchildren Max and Anna and 5 step grandchildren Jack, William, Emma, Theo and Mia. Oh, how they loved to hear him sing!

Eloquent in speech, courtly in manner, passionate in beliefs well defended, he enjoyed a simple life. A kind and gentle man who loved well and was well loved.