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08.10.20

Only following orders? Perpetratorship revisited.

Join us and our guest speaker Dr Alexander Von Lunen, Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Huddersfield, to learn more about the complex bureaucracy of the Nazi regime.

This talk will pick up the debates about the bureaucrats of the Holocaust, such as Adolf Eichmann and his depiction in Hanna Arendt’s book about his trial, and whether these bureaucrats simply had to obey orders, or if they agreed with the actions. Scholars like Christopher Browing in Ordinary Men (1992) or Daniel Goldhagen in Hitler’s Willing Executioners (1996) present alternative views to this, with the former suggesting that obedience was the prime motivation of the henchmen, whereas the latter attributed this to a deep-running antisemitism in the German population.

The talk will attempt to add some nuance to this debate, arguing that there are different types of perpetrators that don’t align themselves to this binary – mere obedience vs innate hatred – so easily.

This talk will take place at 6.00pm BST – if joining us from a different country, please check the timezone appropriate to where you are.