Dr. von Plato, one of Germany's best-known public historians, is known for his oral history approach to research, which involves extensive interviews with both eyewitnesses and key players of a specific period. He is the founder and long-time director of the Oral History Centre at the Open University Hagen, and the German oral history journal BIOS. He is also a founder and former secretary and vice president of the International Oral History Association. Dr. von Plato taught at the universities of Essen, Hagen, and Vienna. From 2006 to 2010, he served as a member of the Historical Commission of Dresden which evaluated historical documents about the bombing of Dresden in February 1945.
Dr. von Plato’s book, The Unification of Germany – A World Political Power Game; Bush, Kohn, Gorbachev and the Internal Moscow Protocols is in its third printing and is standard reading for journalists, educators and students. It draws on minutes from Gorbachev talks with high-ranking politicians, and interviews with politicians such as George H. Bush, James Baker, and Condoleezza Rice. Similarly, his book Hitler’s Slaves (2010) is an important study of forced labor during the Second World War.