The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews during the Holocaust


Feb
18
2014

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  • Speaker: Bernard Wasserstein, University of Chicago
  • Host Department: Judaic Studies, Frankel Center for
  • Date: 02/18/2014
  • Time: 04:00 PM

  • Location: 202 S. Thayer St., Room 2022, Ann Arbor

  • Description:

    The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews challenges the simplistic, a historical interpretation of the role of the Nazi-appointed Jewish councils in Nazi-occupied Europe that was offered by Hannah Arendt in her Eichmann in Jerusalem. The Ambiguity of Virtue tells the story of Gertrude van Tijn’s work on behalf of her fellow Jews as the avenues that might save them were closed off.  Between 1933 and 1940 Van Tijn helped organize Jewish emigration from Germany. After the Germans occupied Holland, she worked for the Jewish Council in Amsterdam and enabled many Jews to escape. Some later called her a heroine; others denounced her as a collaborator. Was she merely a pawn of the Nazis, or should she be commended for taking advantage of such opportunities as offered themselves to save Jews from the gas chambers? In such impossible circumstances, what is just action, and what is complicity?

    Sponsored by: Judaic Studies, Political Science