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Bystander Society: Conformity and Complicity in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

Date & Time

Jan. 29, 2024
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


Online Only
Zoom Webinar


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.


Mary Fulbrook

Mary Fulbrook

Professor of German History, University College London


Natalia Aleksiun

Natalia Aleksiun

Harry Rich Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

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