Holocaust lesson vital in wake of Charlie Hebdo attacks

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks and rising anti-Semitism, a series of lectures at The University of Manchester will examine lessons from the Second World War to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January).

Seventy years on from the liberation of Auschwitz, the University will launch the Bogdanow Lectures – in honour of Fanni Bogdanow, a former Professor and child refugee who fled Nazi Germany and bequeathed all her money to the University in her will.The inaugural Bogdanow Lectures will be given by Professor Christopher Browning - a world renowned professor and a pioneer in Holocaust Studies – who will examine what we can learn from both the perpetrators and the victims of the Nazi genocide.

Dr Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Reader in Holocaust Studies at The University of Manchester, said: “The lectures are an opportunity for people to learn afresh the horror of what happened during the Second World War. It's a chance for people to hear about the awful fate suffered by millions of Jews and other minority groups at the hands of the Nazis, but also for people to be reminded of Europe's not-too-distant history.“This has never been more poignant than in the wake of this month’s shootings in Paris, as anti-Semitism fears grow among the UK and Europe’s Jewish communities and as Jews are being killed in Europe again.

Professor Fanni Bogdanow was a remarkable woman and scholar with a remarkable story and the very high calibre of the speaker giving the first lecture series services as a fitting tribute to her memory.”The University will host the following lectures by Professor Christopher Browning:

  • Tuesday 27 Jan - From Humanitarian Relief to Holocaust Rescue: A Young American in Vichy France.
  • Wednesday 28 Jan - Why Did They Kill? Revisiting the Perpetrators
  • Thursday 29 Jan - Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony: The Case of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labour Camps

You can find out more about the Bogdanow Lectures at the Centre for Jewish Studies website.

Professor Bogdanow, who died in July 2013 aged 86, fled from the horrors of Nazi Germany in 1939 as an 11-year-old child. She was one of the 10,000 Jewish children rescued by the UK in a mission known as the Kindertransport.

The academic was an only child, who was taken in by a Quaker family in Denton. Professor Bogdanow was one of the few Kindertransport children whose parents survived, between them, the appalling concentration camps of Dachau, Wulzberg and Bergen-Belsen and the ghetto of Theresienstadt. She was reunited with her mother in Manchester during the 1950s.

After receiving distinctions in seven out of eight subjects at Fairfield High School for Girls, she was awarded three entrance scholarships to The Manchester University in 1945 where she studied French.She went on to spend much of her career at the University as postgraduate student, lecturer, reader and professor, to become one of the world’s foremost scholars in her field – literature on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.