Bystander Society under Nazi Rule

Vortrag im Kolloquium "The Holocaust and its Contexts"

How should we best understand the roles of ‘bystanders’ – those who were neither direct perpetrators nor immediate victims of persecution – in creating the preconditions for genocide? Understanding complicity, passivity or inactivity, may be as crucial as understanding perpetrators or the limits of resistance in explaining how the Holocaust was possible. But to explain widespread inaction is complex. In the context of historiographical debates over coercion, consent and indifference under Nazi rule, this lecture explores the conditions under which people were more or less likely to show sympathy with victims of violence, or to become complicit with racist policies and practices. Despite widespread claims after 1945, it was barely possible to remain ‘merely an innocent bystander’ – but this does not mean that everyone who lived through this period was equally ‘implicated’ in systemic violence.

The Research Colloquium ‘The Holocaust and its Contexts’ is co-hosted by the Department of Modern and Contemporary History at LMU Munich and the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ). The Colloquium is held in cooperation with the Oberseminar ‘New Research in Contemporary History’.

Lecture by | Vortrag von Mary Fulbrook (Professor of German History at University College London and Principal Investigator of the interdisciplinary research project ‘Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism’  funded by the AHRC and the Pears Foundation), Chair | Moderation: Kim Wünschmann (LMU Munich).

You are invited to join the lecture via Zoom | Sie können den Vortrag live im Internet über Zoom verfolgen. Er wird in englischer Sprache stattfinden.

You will require a link to join the Zoom webinar. In order to receive this, please register for the event by sending an email to zfhs[at] until 7 June 2021.| Um einem Zoom-Webinar beizutreten, benötigen Sie einen Link. Diesen erhalten Sie, wenn Sie uns bis zum 7. Juni eine E-Mail an zfhs[at] schicken.

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