Defending the Indefensible: Reflections on the Anglo-Jewish Reaction to Domestic Antisemitism, 1931 – 1940

Making History: Archives, Artefacts and Interpreting the Past - lecture series in partnership with the Wiener Library

Event Information and Booking

6th December, 2011
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP
Professor Geoffrey Alderman, The University of Buckingham
Antisemitism, Fascism, history of, Jews
20th century

During the 1930s Britain’s Jewish leadership felt itself compelled to formulate and implement a coherent, communities-wide “defence” policy. This was something that had never before been attempted. What the leadership was defending was a benign communal image, grounded in the belief that Jewish Emancipation in Britain had been an unqualified success. But the reality was very different. Many communal leaders found themselves as concerned with social control as with confronting the fascist menace.

Using a variety of archival sources – including those originating from within fascist circles – Professor Alderman will trace the evolution of this idiosyncratic defence policy and attempt to judge its validity.

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