Wednesday 14 August
In this Lunchtime Lecture, Professor Michael Berkowitz will explore how since near the end of World War II historians have sought to explain how the Nazis exploited the myth of a menacing Jewish “race” in order to speed the persecution, and eventually, genocide, of European Jewry.
One of the Nazis’ more subtle yet effective strategies in separating Jews from the general social fabric was to charge them with a propensity toward ‘criminality.’ While not as overt as ‘biological’ racism, these efforts helped convince the public and Nazi perpetrators that the assault on the Jews was justified. The stigma of inherent criminality remains a potent factor in world-wide antisemitism, as well as anti-immigrant campaigns in the present-day.
Michael Berkowitz, a native of Rochester, New York, is Professor of Modern Jewish history at University College London. He is author of five monographs and editor or co-editor of five volumes on topics from Zionism in Central Europe to the engagement of Jews in photography, and editor of Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England. His most recent book is Jews and photography in Britain (2015), and in 2019 he produced the Kurt Weill/Georg Kaiser comic opera, The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken, and an original musical, Man & God, about the inventors of Kodachrome film. In the last few years he has been a fellow at Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and New York University’s Remarque Institute.
Image credit: Courtesy Frank Dabba Smith