UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


Hunt for the Jews: the Case of Occupied Poland, 1942-1945

6:15 pm, 20 November 2014

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Institute of Jewish Studies


Gower Street
United Kingdom

Jan Grabowski

Winner of The Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research 2014

In 1942 and 1943, thousands of Jews escaped transports to death camps and sought shelter in the Polish countryside. Few survived until 1945. Using previously unexplored archival documents, Canadian-Polish historian Jan Grabowski argues that the explanation lies not in German control of rural Poland. In fact, the greatest enemies of Poles attempting to save Jews were other Poles: watchful neighbours who denounced rescuers to the police. 

Professor Grabowski has helped drive a revolution in Holocaust studies, showing that the death machine needed the complicity of local populations, based on bigotries inherited from earlier times, as well as fears and opportunities generated by the Nazi occupation.

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Professor Jan Grabowski obtained his MA in History from the University of Warsaw in 1986 and his PhD in History from Université de Montréal, in 1994. He has taught at University of Ottawa since 1993, focussing on the history of the Holocaust. He has been an invited professor at universities in France, Israel, Poland and in the United States. In 2011 he was appointed the Baron Friedrich Carl von Oppenheim Chair for the Study of Racism, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel. Since 2004 he has focused his research on the history of the extermination of the Polish Jewry. He has authored and edited 13 books and published more than 50 articles in learned reviews in English, French, Polish, German and Hebrew. His most recent book, 'Hunt for the Jews. Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland' was published last year.

This lecture will be chaired by David Cesarani.