CFP: International Conference: Bystanders, rescuers or perpetrators? The Neutrals and the Shoah – Facts, Myths and Countermyths

Centro Sefarad Israel – Madrid, Center for Holocaust and Genocide StudiesMinnesota, Mémorial de la Shoah – Paris, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs – Bern, Topography of Terror Foundation- Berlin, Living History Forum – Stockholm, Memoshoá/Association for the Education and Remembrance of the Holocaust – Lisbon and Tarih Vakfı/History Foundation – Istanbul are calling for scholarly papers on:

Policies of the Neutral Countries during the Holocaust and the Public Debate on them in these Countries

More than a decade ago, two American reports comparing the attitude of neutral countries during and after the Holocaust gained broad public attention. The Eizenstat reports of 1997 and 1998 focused on economic and financial questions. However questions of refugee policies and rescue myths in neutral countries are also central and their importance grew in the last decade.

Several new academic studies on the stances of the neutral countries, published in the past years, question the long-standing myth cultivated by these countries’ governments and public opinion, according to which they had gone to great lengths to rescue persecuted Jews.

All of these books agree that in reality, no active assistance had been offered. Without really having done any comparative research, some authors even went so far as to claim that “their” country had offered less help than others – a kind of “negative myth.” One of the reasons for this is that there is still a lack of comparative studies. One of the aims of the proposed colloquium is to provide a foundation for future transnational study.

The conference will thus aim at addressing the following issues:

  • The neutral countries’ reactions to Nazi anti-Jewish policies and their own policies on Jewish refugees;
  • Their response to the German ultimatum to either repatriate all Jews from neutral countries who lived in Nazi-occupied Europe or to allow their deportation (2013 marked the 70th anniversary of this ultimatum);
  • The genesis and long-lasting effects of „rescue myths“, the current state of the discussion regarding the neutral countries’ positions during the Holocaust;
  • The dealing with the history of the Jewish persecution in state fact-finding commissions and committees of historians;
  • Educational programs and public remembrance of the Holocaust.


It is not the primary aim of this conference to present cut-and-dried results, but to provide as much room as possible for discussion in order to foster an exchange between academics, opinion makers and multipliers from then-neutral countries and thus to establish a basis for the development of transnational or bilateral research and/or Holocaust remembrance projects. We hope to create an academic exchange among experts which will be continued in the future.

Working languages of the meeting will be English and Spanish.

Transportation and accommodation of participants from outside Madrid will be covered if institutions they belong to cannot ensure coverage.

Please send your proposals (up to 350 words) and brief CV no later than May 4, 2014 to:

Provided funds can be secured, the conference will take place at Centro Sefarad-Israel, Madrid, 24 – 26 Nov 2014. Contact person: Yessica San Roman, telephone: +34 91 391 1002.

This entry was posted in calls for papers. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s