Zittel's view on human behaviour resonated with an item on the previous page of the same newspaper (Söderling 2011). This concerned a dispute between two historians. One is Ulf Zander, the person with whom I collaborated on the article, "Preoccupied by the Past – The Case of Estonia's Museum of Occupations" (Burch & Zander 2008). The other is Tanja Schult. She attended a seminar I gave at Stockholm University earlier this year. After my talk she kindly gave me a copy of her book, A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments (Schult 2009).
It is the existence of this publication that has given rise to claims of plagiarism. Zander stands accused of incorporating translated extracts into his own book, Hjälten: Raoul Wallenberg inför eftervärlden (Zander 2010). A panel responsible for investigating such cases has previously rejected this claim; but now the publisher of Zander's book has decided to withdraw it from sale.
Zander plans to reissue an amended version of his book under a new title. He dismisses the plagiarism claim, arguing that the extracts in question concern widely known facts rather than specifically attributable ideas. He also points out that Schult is mentioned both in his introduction and conclusion as well as being listed in the references. (One might add that a similar acknowledgement was not reciprocated in an extended article that Schult (2010) had published in the newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet.)
This affair is regrettable, not least because Zander and Schult were originally professional colleagues. Their partnership ended in acrimony, leading Zander to publish Hjälten (The Hero) on his own. Of wider interest is the sense in which this wrangle threatens to overshadow the importance of their research. Raoul Wallenberg's actions during the Second World War saved many Jews from the Holocaust. The commemoration of Wallenberg is therefore not only morally necessary, but also an excellent case to study from a public history perspective. Both Zander and Schult have done much to promote this cause and improve our understanding of the struggle for "ownership" of historical events and personalities. Such legacies of the past are negotiated and contested in the politics of the present. Ironically enough, there can be no better demonstration of this fact that the unfortunate conflict between the academics, Ulf Zander and Tanja Schult.
Björling, Sanna Torén (2011) "Människor är som parasiter", Dagens Nyheter, 08/09, Kultur, p.3
Burch, Stuart & Ulf Zander (2008) "Preoccupied by the Past – The Case of Estonia's Museum of Occupations",
Scandia: Tidskrift för Historisk Forskning, Vol. 74 (2), pp. 53-73
Schult, Tanja (2009) A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments, Palgrave Macmillan
Schult, Tanja (2010) "Monument med mänskliga proportioner", Svenska Dagbladet, 27/01, accessed 08/09/2011
Söderling, Fredrik (2011) "Känd historiker anklagad för fusk", Dagens Nyheter, 08/09, Kultur, p.2
Zander, Ulf (2010) Hjälten: Raoul Wallenberg inför eftervärlden, Forum för levande historia