BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Pioneering Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg, who wrote the landmark book "The Destruction of the European Jews," died in Vermont at the age of 81.
The New York Times said the longtime professor at the University of Vermont, was stricken with lung cancer and died on Saturday.
Hilberg narrowly escaped the fate of the people he wrote about when he fled Nazi-occupied Vienna in the late 1930s at the age of 12. He and his family settled in Brooklyn.
Hilberg wrote of the Holocaust as a technical and bureaucratic exercise that historians say diluted the blame for the tragedy and bolstered the concept that many of those involved were merely following orders.
The Times said Hilberg's conclusions were criticized as downplaying anti-Semitism. However, Hilberg wrote all of the German players in the Holocaust bore responsibility for their roles, no matter how minor.