Hitler’s anti-semitism to be explored in public lecture by leading historian

Author and historian Professor Sir Richard J Evans will visit the University of Leicester on Thursday 3 October to deliver the annual Aubrey Newman Lecture for the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Under the title ‘“Warrant for Genocide”? Hitler, the Holocaust and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, Professor Evans will explore how Adolf Hitler was personally influenced by a notorious anti-semitic hoax. The lecture is free and open to the public.

First published in Russia in 1903, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion purported to be a secret Jewish plan for world domination but by 1921 the document had been thoroughly discredited after it was conclusively shown to be a forgery. Nevertheless it was widely available in 1930s Germany where it was used to justify the Nazis’ antisemitic policies and ultimately the Holocaust. Historians have long claimed that Hitler was personally, strongly influenced by the Protocols. In this lecture, Professor Evans will take a fresh look at the Protocols and the origins and nature of Nazi antisemitism, asking whether the evidence of Hitler’s speeches and writings justify these claims.

Professor Sir Richard J Evans is one of the country’s leading historians, renowned for his research on 19th and 20th century Europe. He contributes regularly to the Guardian and the London Review of Books on historical subjects, and is a familiar face on documentaries relating to modern German history. He is the prize-winning author of more than 20 books, including a definitive three-volume history of the Third Reich. Professor Evans was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University from 2008 until his retirement in 2014, since when he has been Provost of Gresham College in London. He was knighted for services to scholarship in 2012.

Founded in 1990, the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is a centre within the University of Leicester dedicated to research into the Holocaust, its implications and subjects closely related to it, including Jewish history, inter-faith relations, anti-Semitism and racism, fascism and extreme right-wing political movements, crimes against humanity and genocides. The annual Aubrey Newman Lecture is named in honour of the centre’s founder.

Dr Paul Moore, Director of the Stanley Burton Centre, said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to welcome Richard to the University of Leicester for what promises to be a fascinating talk. Richard’s work is familiar to students, academics and the public alike, and his research interests align closely with our own. At a time of rising antisemitism and increasing political radicalism across Europe and beyond, the topic of this lecture is, sadly, highly relevant to today’s world. We invite all who are interested in modern history and the history of the Holocaust to join us here at the University of Leicester for an insightful lecture from one of the world’s leading experts.”

This free public lecture will take place in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing on the University of Leicester campus on Thursday 3 October, starting at 5.30pm. For more information, please contact the Centre on 0116 252 2816 or burtoncentre@le.ac.uk