Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Summer Semester 2010

Experience and knowledge – History of memory of the Holocaust in the workers’ and trade union movement


Instructors: Prof. Dr. Dan Diner/Dr. Jan Gerber

Time: Thursday, 6–8 pm (every other week)

Place: Simon Dubnow Institute, Goldschmidtstr. 28


The research colloquium deals with questions of the understanding of history among outstanding personalities and groups of individuals from the milieu of the workers’ and trade union movement in the face of the Holocaust, or more precisely, in the period thereafter. The colloquium proceeds from the substantiated thesis that although the organized workers’ movement was, like the Jews, targeted by the Nazi regime as victims, there were substantial differences between political victims and victims due to their mere origin. This may have led to the circumstance that it was precisely the political victims who were unable to perceive the other dimension of Nazism, leading to an annihilation devoid of rationale, or in any case substantial epistemic barriers to this perception arose. An additional circumstance is that the optimistic view of human progress in Marxism, though not only there, and the social semantics of interpreting the world, had been massively compromised by the event. Though the reactions to the Holocaust differed, considerable commonalities can be discerned. The aim of the colloquium is to examine these features against the backdrop of the history of the 1950s and ’60s and the history of memory, in particular of the interwar period.




Thursday, 6 Mai 2010

Denis Maier (Luzern)

Geschichte oder Klassenbewusstsein – Georg Lukács und die Shoah


Thursday, 20 Mai 2010

Isabelle Tombs (Cambridge/London)

In Face of Genocide – Smul Zygielbojm's Suicide and International Socialism


Thursday, 24 Juni 2010

Nikolaus Simon (Düsseldorf)

Vom Pathos des doppelt reinen Gewissens – Die DGB-Jugend und der Holocaust


Thursday, 8 Juli 2010

Mario Keßler (Potsdam)

Kommunismusforschung und biografische Erfahrung – Über Borkenau, Gurland, Löwenthal, Flechtheim