The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, September 11, 1985, Image 5

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Wednesday, September 11,1985/The Battalion/Page 5
A&M history prof fascinated
by wartime Nazi Germany
You walk into his office and first
thing that catches your eye are the
autographed pictures of The Lone
Ranger and Tonto, Superman and
The Cisco Kid and Pam ho. The sec
ond thing you notice are the dozens
ot books on wartime Nazi Germany.
The office belongs to Dr. Arnold
Paul Krammer, 43, a history profes
sor at Texas A&M. The pictures are
reminders of his youth. The books
are reminders of the brutal past.
Now Krammer has just finished
his fourth book, “Hitler’s Last Sol
dier In America.” It is about George
Gaertner, a former Nazi prisoner of
war and the longest running fugitive
on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Krammer has been in the history
department at A&M for 12 years
and been promoted to full
The classes he teaches cover the
horrors of wartime Nazi Germany,
an area of study that has f ascinated
him for years.
Tt is like looking ai a tarantula in
a glass cage,” Krammer says. “We
are attracted to it because ii is both
scary and evil and the glass is all that
separates us from that e\il becoming
Krammer received a bachelor of
science degree in German history
and chemistry from the I'niversity
of Wisconsin in 1963. He also re
ceived a diploma in German history
from the University of Vienna, Aus
tria, in 1964. In IP 1 ?!) he got his doc
torate in German history from the
University of Wisconsin.
Krammer has devoted his adult
life to researching wartime Germany
and has been well rewarded for his
“I'm doing what 1 want to do and
getting paid for it,” kiauunei says.
“You can’t beat that, can you?"
In 1983 he was awarded the
Texas A&M University Association
of Former Students Distinguished
Achievement Award in Teaching.
While awards are nice, Krammer
says he would rather be doing re
“I’m curious as a cat,” Krammer
says. “The more I learn, the more I
can pass on to my students."
Krammer began his career as a
teaching assistant at the University
of Wisconsin in 1968. From 1970 to
1974 he was assistant professor of
history at Rockford College in Rock-
ford. Ill. While at Rockford, he
wrote numerous articles and techni
cal papers about Israel, Russia and
In 1974 he came to A&M as an as
sociate professor of history. Here he
has had his greatest success.
“The history department at A&M
ranks with some of the best,” Kram
mer says. “We are strong in Ameri
can history, military history, wom
en’s history and Nazi Germany
Because he has a background in
chemical engineering, Krammer was
chosen to head a project that served
as the principal investigator for the
German Document Retrieval Pro
ject. The project has received a
fellowship for the last 10 years from
Dow Chemical, Union Carbide and
Shell Development.
In 1977 he appeared in Time
magazine and testified before the
U.S. House of Representatives' sub
committee on his presentation,
“Coal Conversion: Liquefaction and
As a result of his research he re
ceived the Congressional Award
from the Missouri House of Rep
resentatives for research on German
synthetic fuel.
While he is intrigued with re
search on the chemical warfare ef
forts of Nazi Germany, he is even
more fascinated by the horror and
death of the Holocaust.
You walk into his office and first
thing that catches your eye are the
While Krammer enjoys researching
the chemical warfare efforts of Nazt
Krammer says he accepts the find
ings of the experts but is upset that
Mengele could not be found alive
and brought to trial.
“Mengele’s an animal,” Krammer
says. “Anyone who can kill that
many people and can perform, hu
man experiments without even ad
ministering an anesthetic is sick.”
While the search for Nazi war
criminals is not in the public eye as
much as it used to be, Krammer says
he thinks that it should be.
“Still thousands are implicated —
the truck drivers, trains, the towns’
people and the people who ran the
death factories,” Krammer says.
“They couldn’t be oblivious to what
was going on.”
Krammer also is an expert on
POWs. In 1979 he published his sec
ond book, “Nazi Prisoners of War in
America.” He was also a consultant
to two film companies that were
doing films on German POWs.
Krammer has written articles that
appeared in Time, Newsweek and
Esquire. He also has written many
reviews on books about the Russian
and German war machines.
Krammer travels on the lecture
circuit when time permits. In 1979
he was awarded the Conference
Prize in American history for his pa
per, '‘Industrial Data as War Booty:
The Technical Oil Mission to Eu
rope, 1945.”
In 1984 he appeared at an invita
tional lecture at the National Ar
chives in Washington. At that con
ference he presented “Nazis in
America: German Prisoners of War
President Reagan’s trip to the Bit-
burg cemetery upset Krammer.
“It was terribly outrageous on the
administration’s part,” Krammer
says. “They were supposed to be
looking for SS men’s graves and they
were over there looking at BMWs.”
If it seems that Krammer is a
workaholic, he is. But there is an
other side to the warm, intelligent
and sincerely dedicated man.
Krammer received his scuba cer
tificate from A&M and, whenever he
has the opportunity to dive, he takes
advantage of it. Krammer also
earned a pilot’s license while teach
ing at Rockford. He has a stamp col
lection and plays guitar, mostly
country and western.
Krammer speaks German and
Hungarian fluently and serves as
faculty adviser on the A&M Europe
Club. He also is faculty adviser for
Memorial Student Center’s Great Is
sues. He has held these positions
since 1978.
Reading is one of his favorite hob
bies, but most of all he says he enjoys
teaching and research. He says he
plans to stay at A&M for life.
“When they close the Harrington
building down, I’ll be the last one in
there and I’ll turn out the lights,”
Krammer says.
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