Bolton Branch Birthday

Bolton Branch News

Published: 30th March 2008

Renowned historian Professor Sir Ian Kershaw joined the Bolton Branch of the Historical Association on 1 October 2007 to help celebrate their 80th anniversary. An audience of 185 people listened to his lecture on ‘The German People and the Persecution of the Jews', which examined the attitudes of the German population to the Jewish minority during the first half of the twentieth century.

Beginning with a thought experiment designed to bring the issues up to date, he discussed the use of sources available to the Historian and pointed out that prior to the rise of Nazism the majority of German Jews were integrated into German society; the only magnet for anti-semitism were those Jews who had fled from Eastern Europe after the First World War.

Gradually the Nazi Party increased in popularity, and once the dictatorship came into being all newspapers promoted the message that the Jews were an evil influence. People who joined the Nazi Party were subjected to a barrage of anti-semitic propaganda, yet many ordinary Germans didn't support the boycott of Jewish businesses that the party called for.