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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…)