How Ordinary Were the Ordinary Men—The Puzzle of Perpetration in the Holocaust

Please join the Program in Jewish Studies for our annual Holocaust Remembrance Day program public lecture.

“How Ordinary Were the Ordinary Men —The Puzzle of Perpetration in the Holocaust,” by Dr. Mark Roseman.

In-Person at Norlin Library.
Register to attend via Zoom at the gold button at the top right.

We remain horrified by the deeds of those who perpetrated the Holocaust but perhaps more mystified than ever. The long-held consensus among historians that the perpetrators were “ordinary men” does not satisfy, and not just because we now know more about the role of women as auxiliaries. We are not sure what “ordinary” demarcates: Not psychotic? Of their time? The same as us? Of recognizable human stuff but subject to special influences, and thus, in the end, decidedly not ordinary? As we uncover ever more groups somehow implicated in genocide, the boundary between perpetrator and wider society also becomes blurred, raising the question whether it was the home front, far removed from the killing action, where the answers to how the perpetrators were formed, is to be found.

Image description: Philip Drell takes photographs of the surrender of Dachau camp guards while liberated prisoners look on.

Mark Roseman is a distinguished professor in history and the Pat M Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University. Born and educated in England, where he studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick, he is the author or editor of eleven books on the Holocaust and modern European history, many of which have been translated into other languages. His books include ÜberLeben im Dritten Reich. Handlungsspielräume von Juden und ihren Helfern (2021); Lives Reclaimed. A story of rescue and resistance in Nazi Germany (2019); Beyond the racial state (with Devin Pendas and Richard Wetzell, 2017) Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933-1946: Volume I, 1933-1938 (with Jürgen Matthäus, 2010); The villa, the lake, the meeting. The Wannsee Conference and the ‘final solution’ (2002); and The past in hiding (2000). He is general editor of the four-volume Cambridge History of the Holocaust (in preparation). He is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Frankel Prize and the Geschwister Scholl prize.

Monday, January 29 at 7:00pm

Norlin Library, Center for British and Irish Studies Room
1157 18th Street, Boulder, CO 80309

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