Bogdanow Lectures in Holocaust Studies 2016


Prof. Michael Marrus, 'Lessons of the Holocaust'
Mon 15 and Tue 16 February 2016


The second series of Bogdanow Lectures in Holocaust Studies were given by Michael Marrus (Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto). His latest book is Lessons of the Holocaust and previous publications include Vichy France and the Jews (1981), with Robert O. Paxton, The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century (1985), The Holocaust in History (1987) and The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial 1945-46: A Documentary History (1997).

Abstract: These two lectures will examine the "lessons" that Jews and non-Jews are expected to draw from the catastrophe of modern Jewry in the twentieth century – what we have come to call the Holocaust. The issue of "lessons" is much more problematic than appears to the public at large.  Contested territory even during the events themselves, claims about such lessons link with debates about Jewish collective memory, human rights, historical understanding, and the quest for justice. In these lectures, Michael Marrus will explore this issue, drawing on his new book The Lessons of the Holocaust (University of Toronto Press). Marrus challenges the popular expectation that Holocaust history can teach us formulaic lessons, examining difficult questions this field poses for those who claim to draw upon the past for direction in the present. 


Lecture 1. My Problem with Lessons. (Mon 15 Feb. 5.15pm)


Lecture 2. Why I Prefer History. (Tue 16 Feb. 5.15pm)


Masterclass. Prof. Marrus also led a masterclass for students entitled 'Reflections on Teaching Holocaust History and Other Topics' (Tue 16 Feb. 2-4pm)

The two lectures in this series are also available as a YouTube playlist. See the events archive for previous Bogdanow Lectures.


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.