The Rescue of Jews in Western Europe during the Holocaust: The Local, the National and the Transnational

Monday 7th July 2014

Queen Mary, University of London (Arts Two, Room 3.20)

Since the mid-1970s, the factors that led to different rates of survival in Western Europeduring the Holocaust have been much debated by historians. Many variables need to be considered: the timing and implementation of German policy, different attitudes towards Jews in particular localities, the role of the Church and of civil society, and the varieties of Jewish organisation in different countries. Even after weighting up all these factors historians still disagree as to why, for example, 75% of Jews in Francesurvived the Second World War, whereas in the Netherlands, 75% of Jews perished. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together historians and scholars from multiple disciplines (law, modern languages, literature and the social sciences) to think about new methodologies and innovative responses to these questions. What was the interplay between local, national or transnational factors in the survival rates of Jews in each country? In what ways did national, or transnational influences, impact on the decisions by the local civilian population to rescue Jews? How important was tradition and networks (local, national or transnational)? What was the impact of law and of different legal cultures? How are these different factors remembered in post-war literary and visual representations of rescue? 


Registration is free. However places are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please reserve promptly to avoid disappointment. To register, or for any other enquiries, please email:

Workshop Organisers:

Julian Jackson, Professor of Modern French History, Queen Mary,University of London–

Daniel Lee, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, BrasenoseCollege, University of Oxford–

The Rescue of Jews in Western Europe during the Holocaust: The Local, the National and the Transnational


Monday 7th July 2014

Queen Mary, University of London (Arts Two, Room 3.20)

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee and Introductions

Session 1: National (10.30 – 12.15)

Chair Isabel Wollaston, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham

Speaker Jacques Semelin, CNRS/Sciences-Po, Paris,

‘The French Paradox’


a. Cosmin Sebastian Cercel, Law, University of Nottingham

b. Julian Jackson, History, Queen Mary, University of London

c. Daniel Lee,  History, University of Oxford

d. Fransiska Louwagie, French Studies, University of Leicester

Lunch 12.15 – 13.45


Session 2: Transnational (13.45 – 15.30)

Chair Beate Muller, Modern German Studies, University of Newcastle 

Speaker  Susan Zuccotti, Barnard College, New York

‘Père Marie-Benoît / Padre Maria Benedetto: Rescue in Two Countries’


a. Rebecca Clifford, History,University of Swansea

b. Sebastian Owen, English Literature, University of York 

c. Diana Popescu, History of Art, University of Southampton

d. Sue Vice, English Literature,University of Sheffield

Tea/Coffee 15.30 – 16.00


Session 3: Local (16.00 – 17.45)

Chair Bryan Cheyette, English Literature, University of Reading

Speaker  Suzanne Vromen, Bard College, New York

‘Organizing Rescue: The Mission of the Committee for the Defense of Jews in Occupied Belgium’


a. Sharon Deane-Cox, Translation Studies, Universityof Edinburgh

b. Paraskevi Gikopoulou, Sociology, University of Warwick

c. David Kaposi, Social Psychology,University of East London

d. Chris Millington, History, University of Swansea


Concluding Comments: (18.00 – 18.45)

Bob Moore,  History, University of Sheffield 

Renée Poznanski, Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of  the Negev


With the generous support of the British Academy and the Leo Baeck Institute, London