World News

Historian ‘wrongly claimed Holocaust survivor had lesbian affair with guard’

A historian wrongly claimed a concentration camp survivor had a lesbian affair with a Nazi guard, a research misconduct panel found.

Dr Anna Hájková, an associate professor of modern continental European history at Warwick University, made the claim in an article.

She reportedly concluded the affair took place after testimonies by survivors of the camps and legal documents from the SS guard’s trial.

But after contacting the Holocaust survivor’s daughter in 2014, she was told the relationship had not been sexual.

She is said to have promised she would not use the survivor’s name in her research, but later named her and the guard in 2019.

Her claim was made in an article published in an Oxford University Press journal, the Telegraph reported.

It has since been temporarily withdrawn.

The historian leads LGBTQ+ studies of the Holocaust at the university.

A letter from Warwick University to the daughter, seen by the Times Higher Education magazine, said the academic should apologise to her for the "distress" which had been caused by their communication in 2014.

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The misconduct panel found her claims lacked sufficient evidence to support them and recommended she apologise to the survivor’s daughter for the “distress” caused, according to MailOnline.

It ruled she had committed research misconduct and said she should undergo research integrity training.

The article should also be reviewed in detail by the academic and a senior colleague to clarify issues, the misconduct panel recommended.

The daughter’s barrister, Daniel Sokol, told MailOnline it had been a “slow process which has taken a heavy toll on my client”.

A statement was issued by the University and College Union on behalf of Dr Hájková.

Her caseworker told Times Higher Education: “The university's processes have not yet concluded in regard to this matter, so it is not possible for Dr Hájková to comment on the case at this stage as she, unlike the complainant, is bound by the university's confidentiality requirements.”

A spokesman for Warwick University said: "The panel found that the allegation of research misconduct was proven, and made a number of recommendations, which have been accepted in their entirety and implemented.

"As one of those recommendations was that 'The University progresses the issues raised within the investigation, in a process outside of the research misconduct enquiry' there are therefore still active processes ongoing in relation to this matter.

"We of course cannot comment further until those processes are completely concluded."

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