Bogdanow Lectures in Holocaust Studies 2015

Agency in the Holocaust: Perpetrators, Survivors, Rescuers

Prof. Christopher Browning

27-29 January 2015


The inaugural Bogdanow Lectures in Holocaust Studies 2015 were given by Christopher Browning (Frank Porter Graham Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) on the topic 'Agency in the Holocaust: Perpetrators, Survivors, Rescuers'. Among his numerous publications is the classic study Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 (HarperCollins, 1992).

Tue 27 Jan. Lecture 1: From Humanitarian Relief to Holocaust Rescue: A Young American in Vichy France.

Tracy Strong was a 26 year old American working for the International YMCA in Geneva, Switzerland, when he volunteered for humanitarian relief work in the civilian internment camps in Vichy France.  Soon he realized the greater importance of getting a few internees out of the camps over futilely trying to improve the quality of life of all internees within the camps.  Mostly, though not exclusively, working by legal means, Strong helped more than 30 Jews survive the Holocaust.

Wed 28 Jan. Lecture 2: Why Did They Kill?  Revisiting the Perpetrators

In the initial phase of academic debates, highly polarized positions are often starkly juxtaposed.  The ensuing research and analysis that is thereby stimulated then leads to a more complex and nuanced understanding.  This lecture will look at how the subfield of "perpetrator studies" has developed since the so-called "Goldhagen-Browning debate" of the mid-1990s.  

Thu 29 Jan. Lecture 3: Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony: The Case of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps

This lecture will examine the challenges and difficulties of using survivor testimony as historical evidence.  Through a case study of the understudied phenomenon of the factory slave labor camp, it will examine what the historian can learn about both perpetrators and victims from the post-war testimonies of 292 survivors of the Starachowice camps.

Thu 29 Jan. Masterclass

Prof. Browning also led a masterclass for Students entitled 'Forty-five years as a Holocaust historian'.

The complete series of three lectures is also available via YouTube playlist.


The Bogdanow Lectures Bequest

This new annual public lecture series has been made possible as a result of the generous bequest to the University by Fanni Bogdanow (1927-2013), a former Professor of French and Medieval Studies at Manchester and a child refugee on the Kindertransporte.

Fanni Bogdanow, PhD graduation 1957

"Fanni Bogdanow was born in Düsseldorf, Germany. When she was 11, in 1939 and just in time, her parents loaded her on to a Kindertransport train bound for Britain. She was taken in by a Quaker family in Manchester to whom she remained very grateful. In 1945, she won a scholarship to study French at Manchester University; she was to stay at Manchester, as undergraduate, postgraduate, lecturer, reader and professor, for the rest of her life. Her parents, astonishingly, survived between them Dachau, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen; to Fanni's intense joy, her mother later joined her in Manchester..." [More from The Guardian]

Fanni Bogdanow's full life story interview was conducted in April 2002 by one of the Centre's current PhD students, Ros Livshin, and was archived at the Oral Testimony Archive of the Manchester Jewish Museum, a collection compiled under the supervison of the Centre's Bill Williams.

See also

Fanni Bogdanow, 'Anne Frank and the Holocaust' in Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 88:1 (2006), 207-215.

Fanni Bogdanow, 'From Holocaust Survivor to Arthurian Scholar' in On Arthurian Women, edited by Bonnie Wheeler and Fiona Tolhurst (Dallas: Scriptorium Press, 2001), 387-394.