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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…)

Honouring the Righteous

Robert Eagle3 May 2012

I have always thought that the Italian military from the 1920s until 1943 were simply fascists and puppets of the Nazis. At UCL on 24 April, Holocaust survivor Imre Rochlitz and his son Joseph presented the easily forgotten account of many Italian soldiers’ determination to thwart the transfer of up to 30,000 Jews into German hands during WWII.

Titled Honouring the Righteous, in recognition of both Holocaust survivors and those who saved their lives, the event was organised by the UCL European Institute, the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) and the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Joseph Rochlitz screened his 1994 documentary, The Righteous Enemy, which illuminated how Italian soldiers repeatedly disobeyed demands from Nazi officials to hand over Jews from Italian-occupied Croatia, Greece and southern France. Interviews with Italian commanders revealed their determination to undermine even direct orders from Mussolini to comply with Nazi directives.

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An evening with Noam Chomsky: Contours of Global Order

Lara J Carim14 March 2011

This year the Rickman Godlee lecture hosted Noam Chomsky, writes Jay Stone, UCL PhD student. He is inspirational to many and the event on 9 March had sold out quickly… I was running late and acutely aware that I needed to get there sharpish to get a seat!

With masses of people still piling in behind me I quickly made my way up into the rafters and settled in. A few moments later the audience erupted into deafening applause, everyone on their feet, with smiles on their faces and awe in their eyes. Noam Chomsky had made his way onto the stage.

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