Event Date: 6 Dec 2011
The Wiener Library
29 Russell Square,
London WC1B 5DP
Making History: Archives, Artefacts and Interpreting the Past
lecture series in partnership with the Wiener Library
Professor Geoffrey Alderman (University of Buckingham):
Defending the Indefensible: Reflections on the Anglo-Jewish Reaction to Domestic Antisemitism, 1931 – 1940
During the 1930s Britain’s Jewish leadership felt itself compelled to formulate and implement a coherent, communities-wide “defence” policy. This was something that had never before been attempted. What the leadership was defending was a benign communal image, grounded in the belief that Jewish emancipation in Britain had been an unqualified success. But the reality was very different. Many communal leaders found themselves as concerned with social control as with confronting the fascist menace.
Using a variety of archival sources, including those originating from within fascist circles, Professor Alderman will trace the evolution of this idiosyncratic defence policy and attempt to judge its validity.
The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism
“The relationship between antisemitism and other forms of racism and exclusion is not only a historical question. It is an urgent issue for today.” Professor David Feldman, Director.
The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism was established by the Pears Foundation and is based at Birkbeck, University of London. It is a centre of innovative research and teaching, contributing to discussion and policy formation on antisemitism as well as other forms of racial prejudice and intolerance. It is both independent and inclusive.
Introduction by David Feldman .