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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Inter Faith Lecture 2022 - After Belsen: Christian Encounters with Jews in the Aftermath of the Holocaust Seminar

15 November 2022
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus & Online via Zoom

For more information regarding this seminar, please email .

Event details

This lecture is part of the Parkes Institute 22/23 Event and Seminar series and part of the 2022 Inter Faith Week programme. Please note that there will be refreshments available at this event.

About the Lecture

In post-war occupied Germany British and American Christians encountered Jews who had survived the years of Nazi persecution. In liberated concentration camps and Displaced Person centres, through interfaith campaigns and the immigration movement to Mandate Palestine, army chaplains, relief workers, and interfaith activists listened to survivor testimony. They witnessed the rebuilding of Jewish community life, debated their understanding of antisemitism, and advocated causes which could shape the future of Jews in Europe and elsewhere. This lecture will explore some of these unique stories of Christian-Jewish encounters in the wake of the Holocaust. It will ask what Christians understood of Nazi persecution at this early stage, how they defined antisemitism, and how they responded to what they witnessed. In doing so, a new approach to the history of Christian-Jewish relations will be suggested. In the post-war existence of particular places such as Bergen-Belsen, before the Church and the theological academy fully acknowledged what would become understood as the Holocaust, encounters with Jewish survivors forged some Christians’ understanding of Jewish experiences and influenced the first grassroot examples of a post-Holocaust Christianity.

About the Speaker

Robert Thompson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. His research is funded by a Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities. Before beginning his PhD, Rob worked as Senior Programme Manager for the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), the UK’s leading forum for Christian-Jewish relations, and studied part-time for his MA in Jewish History and Culture at the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton. Rob’s MA thesis was supervised by Prof. Tony Kushner and told for the first time the story of British Christian army chaplains at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. It was awarded Proxime Accessit for the Royal Historical Society’s Rees Davies Prize in 2020. Rob’s contribution to Holocaust education and interfaith relations was recognised in 2018 with the 21 for 21 award. Rob is also a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church and a Trustee of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.

Robert Thompson
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