Bystander Society: Conformity and Complicity in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
Drawing on personal accounts of experiences in the Third Reich and in wartime Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, Bystander Society explores the conditions for widespread passivity in face of violence against others. Fulbrook reconceives ‘bystanding’ in terms of changing interpersonal relations: indifference, ignorance (or choosing to ignore), and a sense of impotence, are historically produced. Many became increasingly complicit or involved in wartime perpetration; a few sought retreat or resistance; but remaining an ‘innocent bystander’ was largely a postwar myth.
Mary Fulbrook, FBA, is Professor of German History at University College London (UCL) and received her education at the universities of Cambridge and Harvard. Previous monographs include Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (2018), winner of the Wolfson History Prize; and the Fraenkel Prize-winning A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust (2012), in addition to works on the GDR, generations through dictatorships, historical theory, national identity, and overviews of German history.
History and Public Policy Program
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