University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Holocaust Studies

Monday, October 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM Waterman Memorial Lounge (Room 338

The Nazis, their Wars, and the Fate of the Jews, 1938-1945

David Cesarani
David Cesarani, Royal Holloway College, London

The Raul Hilberg Memorial Lecture

David Cesarani, Royal Holloway College, London

The Raul Hilberg Memorial Lecture is made possible through a generous gift from Jerold D. Jacobson, Esquire, of New York City, UVM Class of 1962

In his ground-breaking work The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg barely mentions the fact that for most of the period under examination Germany was engaged in territorial expansion or wars of conquest. In this respect, he was not unusual amongst ‘Holocaust historians’ of his day or those who laboured in his shadow. Few of those who charted the fate of the Jews paid much attention to the course of the war, except at points when it obviously intersected with ‘Jewish policy.’ Conversely, until recently few military historians examined the impact of strategic and operational decisions on the treatment of Jews in Nazi-dominated Europe and North Africa. Gerhard Weinberg was perhaps the first to calibrate the ‘Final Solution’ to regional and global military developments. This lecture will attempt to reinterpret Nazi anti-Jewish policy from the late 1930s in the light of preparations for, and conduct of, the war. The Nazi leadership allowed the alleged role of the Jews in the struggle to exert a powerful influence on their geo-strategic thinking. But it will go further and show how strategic and operational decisions had a decisive influence on the treatment of the Jews and their ultimate fate.

David Cesarani is research professor in History at Royal Holloway, University of London and director of the Holocaust Research Centre. His books include Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, scandal, and Britain’s war against Jewish terrorism, 1945-1948 (2009)Eichmann. His Life and Crimes (2004), winner of the US National Jewish Book Award for history; Arthur Koestler. The Homeless Mind (1998)The 'Jewish Chronicle' and Anglo-Jewry 1841-1991 (1994); and Justice Delayed. How Britain became a refuge for Nazi war criminals (1992). He has also edited or co-edited several collections of essays, including After the Holocaust: Challenging the ‘myth of silence’ with Eric Sudquist (2012), was historical consultant and associate producer for the TV documentary ‘Death Damp Treblinka: Survivors Stories’ BBC4 (2012), and has been involved in the making of other TV, radio and film documentaries. In 2005 he was awarded the OBE for his work with the Home Office unit responsible for the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK.