Events | Bystanding & the Holocaust in Europe – Vortrag & Gespräch mit Christina Morina, Saul Friedländer, und Norbert Frei

Los Angeles | 16. November 2023

19:00 Uhr (PT)

Christina Morina, Professorin für Allgemeine Geschichte an der Universität Bielefeld, besucht das Thomas Mann House für einen Vortrag und Gespräch zum Thema "Bystanding and the Holocaust in Europa. Experiences, Ramifications, Representations, 1933 to the Present." Im Anschluss an den Vortrag wird Professor Morina ein Gespräch mit dem preisgekrönten israelisch-amerikanischen Historiker und emeritierten UCLA-Professor Saul Friedländer und mit dem renommierten Historiker Norbert Frei führen. Mit einer Einführung von Prof. David Kim.

Photo by Christina Morina.

*Die Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt.*

The Holocaust was a social process driven not only by the Nazi regime and a few hundred thousand perpetrators but also by the more or less active involvement of the non-Jewish majority populations in Germany and the occupied countries. To this day, the role of so-called bystanders remains unclear and contested. After decades of scholarship focusing first on the perpetrators and subsequently on the victims’ perspective, the role, (in)actions and experiences of bystanders remain to be explored systematically. The lecture introduces the premises and some first empirical findings of a project that constitutes the first comprehensive analysis of the perceptions and actions of bystanders during the Holocaust – as well as its ramifications and representations up until the present. The collaborative project undertakes a systematic analysis of a large sample of published and unpublished diaries written by Jews and non-Jews in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Romania, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. By exploring the language for bystanding in Jewish diaries and the language of bystanding in non-Jewish diaries – and their mutual reflection – the goal is to establish new empirical, conceptual, and narrative grounds on which the Holocaust (and other contexts of systemic discrimination and mass violence) can be understood as not only the result of social but also interpersonal processes.

The project runs from 2022-2027 and is funded by Saul Friedländer’s Balzan Prize, the DFG and the University of Bielefeld.

After the lecture, Christina Morina will discuss other issues related to her lecture with Saul Friedländer & Norbert Frei. With an introduction by Prof. David Kim, who will also facilitate the discussion.


Norbert Frei is Senior Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Jena, Germany, and director of the Jena Center of 20th Century History. He is a leading expert on the history, aftermath, and memory of National Socialism and World War II in Germany and Europe. Among his many publications are Der Führerstaat. Nationalsozialistische Herrschaft 1933–1945 (1987), Vergangenheitspolitik. Die Anfänge der Bundesrepublik und die NS-Vergangenheit (1996). His latest book will be published with C.H.Beck in October 2023: Im Namen der Deutschen. Die Bundespräsidenten und die NS-Vergangenheit 1949-1994.

Saul Friedländer is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and holds the 1939 Club Chair in Holocaust Studies at UCLA. He is an authority on the history of the Holocaust. Friedlander has received numerous awards, such as the Israel Prize (1983), the Geschwister-Scholl Prize (1998), and the 2009 American Historical Association Achievement Award for Scholarly Distinction. His books include, among others, When Memory Comes (1979), and The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 (2007), which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Friedlander founded the influential scholarly journal History and Memory. His latest book will be published with C.H.Beck in October 2023: Blick in den Abgrund: Ein Israelisches Tagebuch.

David D. Kim is Professor in the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies and Associate Vice Provost at the International Institute at UCLA. Professor Kim’s scholarly interests range from postcolonial, global, and migration studies and community engagement to human rights, cosmopolitanism, cultural and political theories, global literary histories, and digital humanities. His first monograph is Cosmopolitan Parables (2017). It investigates how and why, in the post-Cold War world, German writers represent memories of colonialism, Nazism, and communism as cross-referential, cosmopolitan entanglements.

Christina Morina is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Her dissertation is entitled Legacies of Stalingrad: Remembering the Eastern Front War in Germany since 1945 (2011). Since then, she has published a number of books, articles and interviews on modern German political and intellectual history as well as memory culture. Together with Krijn Thijs, she edited the volume Probing the Limits of Categorization (2018). Her book Tausend Aufbrüche. Die Deutschen und ihre Demokratie seit den 1980er Jahren ("Broken Balance: A History of German Democracy since the 1980s") will be published in September 2023.


Teilnahme erfolgt nur auf Einladung.


Thomas Mann House

1550 N. San Remo Drive.

Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

An event by the Thomas Mann House, co-presented by Saul Friedländer’s Balzan Prize, the DFG and the University of Bielefeld.