Hans Max Hirschfeld. The Right Person in the Right Position...? Fennema’s biography of H.M. Hirschfeld represents an interesting contribution to the debate on ethics and historiography. After all, Hirschfeld’s central position in the Dutch economy during the German occupation raises some fundamental ethical questions. Should economic and material values prevail at all times or should other values – moral, humanist or Christian – carry just as much weight, if not more? As opposed to the situation in the 1930s and the post-war years, during the German occupation the technocrat Hirschfeld was not democratically accountable for his policy. The author of this article explains that Hirschfeld’s biographer mistakenly assumes that it is not necessary to include a discussion of the ethical aspects of Hirschfeld’s continuation in public office during wartime.
This review is part of the discussion forum 'Dr. Max Hirschfeld. Man van het grote geld' (Meindert Fennema en Johan Rhijnsburger).