Oct. 5, 1932 - March 14, 2013
William S. Allen, a retired University at Buffalo history professor, died Thursday in his Buffalo home, after a long illness. He was 80.
Born in Evanston, Ill., Mr. Allen graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan, a master’s in history from the University of Connecticut and his doctorate in history from the University of Minnesota.
A junior year abroad in Berlin, where he saw the aftermath of World War II, inspired his career in modern German history.
An expert in the rise of Nazism in Germany, Mr. Allen taught at several universities over the years, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Missouri and Wayne State University.
His first book, “The Nazi Seizure of Power,” was translated into 10 languages and used as a textbook in German history courses.
In 1970, Mr. Allen came to UB, where he taught for more than 30 years. He retired in 2001.
During his career at UB, he served as chairman of the history department and as president of the UB chapter of the United University Professions. He won a number of teaching awards, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award.
Mr. Allen was politically active throughout his life, working for nuclear disarmament and civil rights and against the Vietnam War and neo-Nazi intolerance. He was George McGovern’s campaign manager in Erie County during the 1972 presidential election.
Mr. Allen was a board member of the Holocaust Research Center of Buffalo and often lectured in area high schools about the Holocaust. He liked sailing the Great Lakes and enjoyed Irish culture and history, especially the works of James Joyce.
Mr. Allen is survived by his wife of 32 years, Karen; a son, Jefferson; and three daughters, Caitilyn, Rebecca and Claire.
Services are private.