Symposium | Jews and Other Groups Who Resisted the Nazis: Means, Motivations, and Limitations

Bex Sussman

Symposium | Jews and Other Groups Who Resisted the Nazis: Means, Motivations, and Limitations

April 28, 2023 / 9:30 am - 4:30 pm / Add to Google
Social Science Matrix, 820 Social Sciences Building

Free event | Register to attend

This day-long symposium will probe what remains an under-examined topic in the history of World War II and the Holocaust: the multivarious paths through which ordinary men and women resisted the Nazis. While scholarship on the choices, backgrounds, and motivations of perpetrators and collaborators has become quite robust, it is only in recent years that resistance has received growing scholarly scrutiny.

At this interdisciplinary, comparative symposium, historians and sociologists focusing on a variety of locales from Eastern Europe, to France to North Africa to the Netherlands, will explore a range of subjects that illuminate distinctive paths of resistance, among both Jews and non-Jews. Through their case studies, they will illuminate how factors that include religious community and theology, proximate danger, pre-war political engagement, and social geography could become decisive in the choice and circumstances of resistance.

Presented by Social Science Matrix and cosponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Coordinated by Dr. Ethan Katz, Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies and 2022-2023 Matrix Faculty Fellow.

Image credit: A Jewish partisan group in German-occupied Soviet territories, c. 1942-1944. From the Wiener Holocaust Library Collections


Arrivals: 9:30-10 AM

Welcome & Introduction: 10-10:15 AM – Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley History & Center for Jewish Studies)

First Panel: Religion and Resistance, 10:15-11:45 AM (Paper Presentations)

  • Robert Braun (UC Berkeley, Sociology & Center for Jewish Studies), “Religion and the Protection of Jews During the Holocaust: Evidence from the Netherlands”
  • Johanna Lehr (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), “Biblical resistance and the Reinvention of French Judaism Under the Occupation”
  • Moderator: Deena Aranoff (Graduate Theological Union, Jewish Studies)

Lunch break: 12-1:15 PM

Second Panel: Structures of Resistance, 1:30-3:30 PM (Works-in-Progress)

  • Rachel Einwohner (Purdue University, Sociology), “Certain-Risk Activism: Risk, Threat, and Participation in Jewish Resistance in Warsaw and Vilna”
  • Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley, History & Jewish Studies), “Paths of Resistance in Algiers: Family and Community as Decisive Factors”
  • Sarah Farmer (UC-Irvine, History), “Resistance and Rescue: Hidden Jews in Rural France”
  • Moderator: Alma Heckman (UC Santa Cruz, History & Jewish Studies)

Break (3:30-3:45 PM)

Concluding Roundtable (all participants), 3:45-4:15 PM

Venue information

Social Science Matrix is located on the UC Berkeley campus in 820 Social Sciences Building (near the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Barrow Lane). They are most easily reached via the east entrance of the building.

Take the elevator on your right (“Elevator 2”), which goes directly to the 8th floor. There is a special call button on the first floor to call the elevator for the 8th floor. When you get out of the elevator, turn left and then left again down the long corridor into their office.

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