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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

'As Jews and because we are Jews' – Rabbi Joachim Prinz (1902–1988), American Jewry and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar America Seminar

19 February 2019
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Tracy Storey at .

Event details

Part of The Parkes Institute's Research Seminar Series for 2018/19.

'When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”' Those words were spoken by Rabbi Joachim Prinz (1902–1988) addressing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C., by then the biggest demonstration of the African American Civil Rights Movement.

I will take this event and this quote as a vantage point, to explore the participation of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. I will talk about various personages, especially Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a Zionist rabbi who left Berlin in 1937 and became an important figure of American Jewry from the 1950s through the 1970s.

It is the purpose of this talk to highlight the historical experience with Nazi oppression of those protagonists as a key instrument for understanding their later activism in the Civil Rights Movement. I want to show in which way the former experience with Nazi oppression and anti-Semitism influenced the later activism against racism and for legal and social equality in the United States. It is my argument that the Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement cannot be understood without an understanding of early Holocaust memory in the United States and without looking at those Jews, who had fled Nazi occupied Europe and became leading activist of post-war American Jewry.

Speaker information

Dr David Juenger , University of Sussex. DAAD Lecturer in Modern European History

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