Each year we host a series of free seminars and lectures which is open to graduates, students, staff and members of the public.
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Holocaust Memorial Day Lecture 2024
"Then they came for me…". Martin Niemöller, Protestant antisemitism and the problem of Holocaust remembrance in post-war Germany
Speaker: Professor Benjamin Ziemann (University of Sheffield)
Date and time: Wed 24 January 2024, 5.30pm
Location:University of Leicester, Sir Bob Burgess Building, Lecture Theatre 2
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Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Holocaust Memorial Day Lecture 2024 (with support from Leicester Museum and Art Gallery)
“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” This the final line of the famous quotation by the Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984). The quote frames the problem of Niemöller’s own complicity in Nazi crimes and the Holocaust in terms of a lack of empathy with the victims of Nazi persecution. This reading of the quote, however, masks a much more complicated reality, as Niemöller continued to voice antisemitic views both in the years from 1933 and in the post-war period. Niemöller’s public admissions of German guilt from 1945 to 1947 have to be interpreted in light of his insistence on the victimhood of the Germans. The talk will situate the problematic nature of Niemöller’s post-war statements on the Holocaust in the wider Protestant discourse on German guilt and remembrance.
Benjamin Ziemann is Professor of Modern German History at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of six books, including Contested Commemorations. Republican War Veterans and Weimar Political Culture (2013) and Violence and the German Soldier in the Great War: Killing-Dying-Surviving (2017). His latest monograph is the award-winning book Hitler’s Personal Prisoner. The Life of Martin Niemöller, Oxford 2024.