Image: The Drukker Family poses outside of its home in Winschoten, the Netherlands: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


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Call For Proposals: Seminar “Local Dynamics and the Holocaust”

24 November 2023

“Local Dynamics and the Holocaust” 

Utrecht University, The Netherlands 

June 10-11, 2024 

The Holocaust is one of the best researched major episodes of mass destruction in modern Western history. Whereas the scholarship initially merely focused on German policy makers and decision takers, perceiving the Holocaust as a story of Nazi perpetrators and Jewish victims, today there is general agreement that the genocide should (also) be studied in its local, communal embedment. The numerous small-scale studies of the recent ‘communal turn’, often of a single town, draw our attention to issues like the reverberation of the years of persecution in postwar local society, the impact of pre-existing structures and relations on the course of the genocide and the fate of local Jews, and the role of ‘native’ local elites. By nature, most local studies are idiosyncratic: hence, what is still lacking is a more comparative and comprehensive analysis of the way local history and the history of the Holocaust interacted. What are precisely those pre-existing structures in local society that impacted the course of the genocide? Which local dynamics were at play during the Holocaust and, in a wider timeframe, how were they affected by the Holocaust? How did local political figures influence the course and pace of the genocide in their community, and why? How did local civil society react to the incessant stream of anti-Jewish measures? How did the targeting of one group of citizens change the local civil society, during and after the events? This seminar seeks to explore these and similar questions. By taking the wider timeframe of 1925-1950, our aim is to acquire a deeper understanding of 

the ways local histories and the transnational phenomenon of the Holocaust came into exchange and became entangled. We are interested in connecting Eastern and Western European Holocaust-scholarship and invite researchers of towns in all parts of Nazi-occupied Europe. (See below for more information)