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UCL events news and reviews


Auschwitz revisited?

By ucyow3c, on 5 June 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Phil Leask, Honorary Research Associate in UCL SELCS (UCL German)

The Auschwitz story – murder on a vast scale, planned, programmed, administered and executed by the Nazis in accordance with an ideology – is too terrible, requiring only homage, beyond the bounds of revisiting, reinterpreting and coolly analysing.

auschwitz awkward


Or is it?

That was the central question in the UCL Festival of the Arts event Awkward approaches to Auschwitz on 29 June. Three years into their major project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Reverberations of War group from the School of European Languages, Culture and Society revisited Auschwitz. Literally.

They went there and looked, took photos, checked distances, traced the patterns of movement of those doing the killing and those taken to be killed, roamed around the vast complex beyond where the tourists go, located factories and factory sites where slave labour had been used and people had been worked to death, and tried to see it both as it had been and in its present-day context.

Then came the awkward questions …


Discovering a Nazi in the family: A Small Town near Auschwitz

By Katherine Aitchison, on 26 February 2013

I suspect you’ve never heard of Będzin, a town 25 miles north of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. I hadn’t. And until she discovered the dark secret of a close family friend, neither had Professor Mary Fulbrook.A Small Town Near Auschwitz book cover

Then, one morning, she stumbled upon a shocking fact: Udo Klausa, the man married to her godmother had been the Landrat of Będzin and had sent thousands of Jews to their deaths during World War II.

Thus began years of discovery as Prof Fulbrook attempted to piece together Klausa’s involvement in the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi party and the truth behind his repeated claims of innocence. A journey that has culminated in the publication of her new book, A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust.

On 6 February, Professor Fulbrook (UCL Professor of German History and Vice-Dean of Faculty of Arts and Humanities) joined the Institute of Jewish Studies to discuss the research behind her latest book and the impact the personal story had on her and her historical objectivity. (more…)