Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies: Ordinary Monsters, The Holocaust and the Puzzle of Perpetration (Mark Roseman)

Thu 12/1 • 4PM PST

UCLA Luskin Conference Center • Los Angeles CA

The Annual 1939 Society Lecture in Holocaust Studies

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 female 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.

Mark Roseman is Distinguished Professor in History and Pat M Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, at Indiana University. Trained at the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick in the UK, 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 (2017) (with Devin Pendas and Richard Wetzell); 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).

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