The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History

The Fraenkel Prize, founded by the late Ernst Fraenkel OBE, 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
Comparative Genocide
Political Extremism

Two distinct awards will be made.  

Category A

For a completed but unpublished book, not based on a PhD thesis or equivalent

$6,000 prize money

Category B

For a completed, revised or unrevised but unpublished PhD thesis or equivalent

Please note that MA and MPhil theses will not be admissible

$4,000 prize money

Works submitted are normally expected to be a monograph written by a single author. The work must be written in English, French or German. English translations of books previously published in another language will not be eligible and book manuscripts submitted in previous years may not be resubmitted in any following year. The panel reserves the right not to consider any work that falls outside the specified subject areas or fails to meet entry requirements.

The Prize will be judged by the Library's Academic Advisory Board.

How to Enter

The 2015 Fraenkel Prize is now closed for entries. If you have any questions please emailed Neta Lavee.

Winners of the Fraenkel Prize 2015

The Wiener Library is pleased to announce that the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History for 2015 has been awarded as follows:

Category A 

No category A prize awarded.

Category B 

Jointly awarded to:

Ana Antic, Birkbeck, University of London, UKPsychiatry at war: Psychiatric culture and political ideology in Yugoslavia under the Nazi occupation

"Antic has written a remarkably original case study in the psycho-social impacts of sustained exposure to violence, both on traumatized individuals and on the psychiatric professionals who treated them as patients. Relying on an unusually rich record of patient files and case notes from wartime and immediately postwar Yugoslavia, Antic opens an unexpected window onto the mental and affective experience of everyday life in conditions of war, occupation and regime change, while also demonstrating the significance of this period as a key transitional moment in the intellectual history of psychiatry.  The study stands out for its deft balancing of the ideological, social and professional dynamics at work in this period, and offers us novel and compelling perspectives on Yugoslavia’s social and political history."

Dr Patrick Houlihan, University of Chicago, USACatholicism and the Great War: Religion and Everyday Life in Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1922

"This is a sophisticated and elegantly written study that takes a fresh approach to the role of Catholicism among the Central Powers during the First World War, looking not just at Germany but also at Austria-Hungary. Using a wealth of wide-ranging sources, Houlihan challenges the narratives that have stressed secularisation, and emphasises the extent to which Catholic belief helped Germans and Austrians – women as well as men –  to endure the hardships and sacrifices of war.  Houlihan pays due attention to theoretical issues without taking refuge in them, and shows how the ‘lived religion’ of wartime Catholicism and its postwar vitality challenges us to rethink standard narratives and periodizations."


The panel highly commended the following entry:

Ned Richardson-Little, University of Exeter, UK: Between Dictatorship and Dissent: Ideology, Legitimacy, and Human Rights in East Germany, 1945-1990

"The committee was impressed by Richardson-Little’s lively revisionist history of human rights in the German Democratic Republic. He persuasively shows that, unlike other East Bloc regimes, the GDR state integrated human rights into its constitutional foundation and political identity, and made considerable efforts to broaden this so-called rights culture to the broader population. Among other findings, Richardson-Little shows that the state’s co-optation of human rights helps to explain why the Helsinki Accords did not serve as a watershed event for the GDR’s dissident movement in the 1970s: instead, its development did not take place until the 1980s and under the banner of other causes."