The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


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Book cover of British POWs and the Holocaust; dark background with a face surrounded by barbed wire

© Russell Wallis/IB Tauris

Book Talk: British POWs and the Holocaust

Dr Russell Wallis

Mon 2 Oct 2017

Time: 6:30pm - 8pm

The Library is pleased to partner with the Holocaust Educational Trust in order to discuss Dr Russell Wallis' new book, British POWs and the Holocaust, published by IB Tauris. 

British POWs were held all over Germany and the occupied lands, spending their war in and around towns and villages with names now long forgotten except in local lore. But in many of these out-of-the-way places, another event was playing itself out. Supposedly shrouded in secrecy, the Jews of Europe were being stigmatised, marginalised, starved, worked to death, shot or eventually gassed. It is widely assumed that British POWs saw little of this, with only a handful witnessing anything at all. In fact, captured Britons saw and understood a great deal more than anyone has so far realised. This talk explores their story. Using eyewitness testimony, Dr. Russell Wallis reveals their essentially human response and shows that conventional notions of courage and gallantry, fear and timidity cannot explain the actions and reactions of POWs.

The talk will be chaired by Martin Winstone, an Education Officer for the Holocaust Educational Trust.

About the Speakers

Russell Wallis is an independent historian. His latest book British POWs and the Holocaust, published by I.B. Tauris, was published in 2017. His first book, entitled Britain, Germany and the Road to the Holocaust was published in 2014. He has written several articles, including a study of British reactions to the persecution of Jews in Poland after the Great War and also the story of British opinion about ordinary Germans during the Holocaust. Russell has worked for Hashava, the Holocaust Restitution Company of Israel and carried out research for the Holocaust Educational Trust. He is currently working on a number of interconnected projects concerning the British approach to war crimes. He is also preparing a history of ordinary Britons living in anticipation of the Second World War. 

Martin Winstone is an Education Officer for the Holocaust Educational Trust and the author of The Holocaust Sites of Europe (I.B. Tauris, 2010) and The Dark Heart of Hitler’s Europe: Nazi Rule in Poland under the General Government (I.B. Tauris, 2014).

Location: The Wiener Library - click for map

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