November 8, 2019

Good Law | Bad Law - Reckoning with the Nazi Past: A Conversation w/ Mary Fulbrook

“The Holocaust is not mere history, and the memorial landscape barely hints at the maelstrom of reverberations of the Nazi era at a personal level.”


Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Professor Mary Fulbrook, from University College London, to discuss her recent book, “Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice," and the overarching themes that impact our world today.


Professor Fulbrook’s book expands our understandings of Germany’s past, exploring the ways in which individuals became enablers and accomplices to the perpetrators, the diversity of experiences among a wide range of victims as they struggled and died, or managed, against all odds to survive and the continuing legacy of Nazi persecution across generations and continents. The process Mary illuminates is how the lives of individuals across a full spectrum of suffering and guilt, capture one small part of the greater story. Aaron and Mary delve into these concepts and more, diving deep into Mary’s work on the book as well as her research on the area as a whole.


Mary and Aaron talk about Mary’s personal background and family history, the shaping of history versus that of memory, the failures of the legal system, comparative geo-political locations, and the landscapes of Western and Eastern Europe. They discuss the miscarriages of justice, the memorialization that has happened since, and the impact of the Holocaust on today as well as the past.


Professor Fulbrook is currently directing a funded collaborative research project on ‘Compromised Identities? Reflections on perpetration and complicity under Nazism’ (2018-2021.) Joining UCL in October of 1983, she is Professor of German History, having studied at Newnham College, Cambridge as an undergraduate, and at Harvard University, where she did her MA and PhD. Professor Fulbrook currently supervises a number of PhD students on topics on modern German and European history. Her teaching has ranged from introductory courses on German history from medieval times to the present, through to more specialized source-led teaching on the German Democratic Republic, and MA courses on ‘Theoretical Issues in History and Literature,’ and ‘The Making of Modern Europe.’ Professor Fulbrook’s work continually includes themes such as European Studies, Heritage, History and Cultures, and Language, Linguistics and Literature.  


Among wider professional commitments, Professor Fulbrook is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Memorial Foundation for the former concentration camps of Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora. She has served on the Council of the British Academy, and as Chair of its Modern History Section. She was a member of the Advisory Board of the German Historical Institute London; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung. She currently serves on the Editorial Boards of German Politics and Society, and of Zeithistorische Forschungen. She was the first female Chair of the German History Society, and was joint founding Editor of its journal, German History.


To find a copy of Professor Fulbrook’s book, please click here.

To learn more about Professor Fulbrook and her research, please visit her bio page at UCL by clicking here.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Mary Fulbrook


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