The fate of Dutch Jews in World War II will be the focus of a lecture March 24 at the University of Maine by Bernard Wasserstein, the Harriet and Ulrich Meyer Professor Emeritus of Modern Jewish European History at the University of Chicago.
The free public lecture, “The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews in World War II,” begins at 3:15 p.m. in Hill Auditorium, Barrows Hall. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine Professor of History Alex Grab, 207.581.1928.
Wasserstein is the author of 11 books on modern Jewish history, including a volume on Gertrude van Tijn, published earlier this year by Harvard University Press. The book tells the moving story of Gertrude van Tijn, a Jewish German social worker who worked tirelessly on behalf of her fellow Jews as the avenues that might save them were closed off. Between 1933 and 1940, van Tijn helped organize Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany. After the Germans occupied Holland in 1940, she worked for the Nazi-appointed Jewish Council in Amsterdam, helping many Jews escape to safety. In 1943, van Tijn was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the German concentration camp at Bergen Belsen, which she survived. She has since been called a heroine for the choices she made, while others have denounced her as a collaborator.
The lecture is supported by the UMaine History Department, Judaic Studies program and the Cultural Affairs Committee.