Mary Fulbrook explores in her book Bystander Society the ways in which ordinary Germans became increasingly compliant with the Nazi regime, such that a majority were eventually able variously to facilitate, benefit from, or turn a blind eye to deportations and mass murder. Using contemporary sources and tracing selected personal stories through peace and war, Bystander Society helps us to understand the exclusion of Jews and growing passivity in the peacetime years, and how genocide developed in the Baltic states and Poland during wartime. By highlighting widespread local complicity in areas under Nazi occupation, and exploring the risk involved in acts of rescue or resistance, the lecture questions the very possibility of bystanding in conditions of collective violence. And by focussing on individual stories throughout, the lecture also raises questions about how we can write history that links wider circumstances with personal experiences.
Comment by Ellen Stensrud, Head of Research, HL-senteret.
The lecture is the last in the series Dypdykk i 2. Verdenskrig organized by The Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Minorities (HL-senteret) and Universitetet I Tromsø – Norges arktiske universitet. The lecture series is financed by Eckbos Legat.
The lecture will be streamed at the HL-center’s webpage.
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