Edith Sheffer

Job title: 
Senior Fellow

Edith Sheffer is a historian of twentieth-century German Europe and a prize-winning author. Her book, Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna was published in May 2018 with W. W. Norton. It investigates Hans Asperger’s creation of the autism diagnosis in the Third Reich, examining Nazi psychiatry's emphasis on social spirit and Asperger's involvement in the euthanasia program that killed children considered to be disabled. Her first book, Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain (Oxford University Press, 2011), challenges the moral myth of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War’s central symbol -- revealing how the Iron Curtain was not simply imposed by Communism, but emerged from the everyday actions of ordinary people. Sheffer's next book, Hidden Front: Switzerland and World War Two, tells an in-depth history of a nation whose pivotal role remains unexposed yet was decisive in the course of the Second World War.