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Oblivion and memorialisation: legacies of Nazi persecution in Europe

Thea G R Cassel6 February 2014

With the approach of Holocaust Memorial Day, this Lunch Hour Lecture was aptly timed. I entered the lecture with feelings of interest and curiosity, but also inevitable apprehension

Auschwitz entrance Credit –http://www.flickr.com/photos/kasiaflickr/

Auschwitz entrance
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/kasiaflickr/

Having attended another of Professor Mary Fulbrook’s (UCL German) lectures on the Holocaust at last year’s UCL Festival of the Arts, I knew that she was a passionate and brilliant speaker who provokes the audience into questioning not just what has happened in the past, but also how we remember it today.

However, the subject being as sensitive and traumatic as it is, I wasn’t expecting an easy ride. I was pleasantly surprised.

Remembered sites
Professor Fulbrook didn’t delve too far into gory details and instead focused on the places and people we remember from the Holocaust, and what they tell us about what and who we remember at the expense of others who have been marginalised by our memorialisation.

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

Katherine Aitchison26 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…)