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Before the Holocaust: A Global History of the Nazi "Jewish Question"

Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 10:00 AM until 11:30 AMEastern Standard Time

Well before the Nazis came to power, many German, Jewish, and other European politicians and intellectuals debated the so-called “Jewish Question”: namely the question of whether to emancipate and integrate the Jews into the modern nation-state or encourage them to leave Europe to form their own state in Palestine or some other colonial territory. When the »Jewish Question« is discussed by historians, however, it is almost always examined as a prelude to the Holocaust or Shoah – what Hitler and the Nazis called the »Final Solution [Endlösung]« to the »Jewish Question [Judenfrage]«. What gets overlooked in this understandable focus on the Holocaust is that the »Final Solution« emerged very late in the history of the Nazi »Jewish Question«, after many other so-called »solutions« had been pursued. 

What were the various conceptions and »solutions« to the (Nazi) »Jewish Question« before the »Final Solution« (1941-1942)? To what degree did other European and non-European states, including the United States, help define, determine, or oppose these conceptions of the Nazi »Jewish Question« and its various solutions? What were the political-institutional, cultural-intellectual, and socioeconomic constraints? To what degree did alternative "solutions" succeed and why, ultimately, did most fail? What lessons might this research provide in dealing with contemporary nationality, minority, and refugee "questions"?

In this sample class, we begin with an interactive lecture, introducing students to the broader context and debates regarding why these questions constitute a core element in Holocaust research. We will then discuss an "in-progress" academic article, offering some new theoretical and methodological approaches to answering these questions."

Registration is no longer available because the event has been cancelled.