Event to showcase cutting-edge research into anti-Semitic terror in Nazi Germany

Posted by ap507 at Oct 19, 2016 11:07 AM |
University of Leicester free public lecture to take place on Tuesday 25 October

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 October 2016

An image of Jewish prisoners in Dachau in 1938 is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f9atwaponmoqozg/AADaisxg1j_gsRLZWkbMWhnVa?dl=0

Leading historians will be discussing their cutting-edge research into anti-Semitic terror in Nazi Germany at a free public lecture at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 25 October.

The event, titled ‘The Concentration Camps and Antisemitic Terror: New Research on Jews in Nazi Germany’, will be delivered by Dr Kim Wünschmann from the University of Sussex and is the first public lecture organised by the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of the 2016-2017 academic year.

During the lecture Dr Wünschmann will present the fruits of ten years of research, recently published in her critically acclaimed book Before Auschwitz: Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Dr Wünschmann’s research suggests that histories have tended to overlook anti-Semitism as a factor in imprisonment in the early camps, arguing instead that hatred of Jews drove concentration camp policy largely from 1938 onwards.

The lecture will demonstrate that in fact Nazi racism informed internment from the outset of the regime, with Jews imprisoned simply for being Jews as early as 1933, and that such practices played a crucial role in cementing the place of the Jew in the demonology of the Third Reich and excluding Jewish citizens from the much vaunted Nazi ‘national community’.

The lecture will also examine the diverse range of responses and forms of resistance on the part of Jewish prisoners to this violent experience of extra-judicial detention.

Following the lecture, Dr Svenja Bethke, Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Leicester, will discuss Dr Wünschmann’s findings while drawing upon insights from her own research on the Jewish experience of the ghettos in occupied Poland.

Dr Bethke will highlight the use of the testimonies of the Jewish prisoners and discuss the importance of the inclusion of the Jewish perspective in the historiography of the Holocaust, as well as offering a critical perspective on recent research.

Dr Paul Moore, Deputy Director of the Stanley Burton Centre and organiser of this event, said: “This event represents an exciting opportunity to hear from two leading historians of German and German-Jewish history about their cutting edge research into the history of National Socialism.

“Dr Wünschmann’s research draws upon a wide range of sources, not least from more than thirty archives across four countries, to tell us something new about how the Holocaust was possible without treating it as the inevitable endpoint of this history. She writes the perspectives of the victims back in to a counter-teleological history of institutionalised antisemitism in the Third Reich, and shows that the exclusion of Jews from German society was an active process in which the camps played a key, and still under-acknowledged, role.”

The free public event ‘The Concentration Camps and Antisemitic Terror: New Research on Jews in Nazi Germany’ takes place on Tuesday 25 October at 5:30PM in the Ken Edwards Ground Floor Lecture Theatre 3 at the University of Leicester.


Notes to editors:

For more information about the event contact Dr Paul Moore on email pm294@le.ac.uk

About Dr Kim Wünschmann

Dr Wünschmann received her PhD in History from Birkbeck, University of London in 2012, as part of the AHRC-funded research project “Before the Holocaust: Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany 1933-1939”.

Her study has been awarded the Jacques Rozenberg Prize of the Fondation Auschwitz - Mémoire d'Auschwitz and jointly awarded the Herbert Steiner Prize of the International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH) and the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW). Prior to her appointment to the University of Sussex Dr Wünschmann held fellowships at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2014 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Zentrum Jüdische Studien (Centre for Jewish Studies), Berlin.


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