Germany, the Holocaust and the postcolonial challenge

Professor Norbert Frei
Event date
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17:30 - 18:30
Blavatnik School of Government - Online Event
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Lectures and seminars
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Many observers from abroad have long regarded Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past as exemplary. For some months, however, this assessment has been massively questioned. The understanding of the Holocaust as a “breach of civilisation” is seen by some as a politically convenient dogma that hinders confrontation with Germany’s colonial crimes. Norbert Frei, Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, contradicts this thesis by describing the complex history of Germany’s handling of the Nazi past as a project of societal self-enlightenment.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A discussion.

Norbert Frei is Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and heads the Jena Center 20th Century History. He has been a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig since 2011. His numerous publications primarily address the history and aftermath of the so-called Third Reich, memory of the Holocaust, the history of human rights, as well as media history of the 20th century.

At the request of the Office of the Federal President of Germany, he is currently researching how the federal presidents from Theodor Heuss to Richard von Weizsäcker dealt with the country’s National Socialist past.

The Alfred Landecker Memorial Lecture, held each year on 27 January to coincide with the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day, is delivered in partnership with the Alfred Landecker Foundation. The lecture is an integral part of the Alfred Landecker Programme at the Blavatnik School of Government, which investigates the rights and interests of minorities and vulnerable groups, exploring, in particular, the values and institutions that underpin democratic society.