Holocaust Studies professor speaks as part of Dr. Harold Abel Lecture Series

Dr. Laura Jockusch discusses Jewish legal responses to the Holocaust on Nov. 9 at the Park Library Auditorium.

An assistant professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University said Jews were often fined for not following Nazi rule following the Holocaust. 

Laura Jockusch spoke Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium. Jockusch’s lecture, titled "Between Vengeance and Reconciliation: Jewish Courts in the Aftermath of the Holocaust" gave insight on how Jewish communities were affected postwar.

“What happens if victims are turned against each other?” Jockusch asked the audience as she opened her lecture. “What happens if the victims are made to cooperate with the perpetrators to help in their own destruction?”

CMU students and faculty did not hesitate to lend an ear as Jockusch used photos and knowledge from her research to explain how Jewish Honor Courts came between families and friends who ended on opposite sides of the war.

Jockusch explained Jews who were found to have cooperated with Nazi rule came home to be labeled as possible traitors as they were put through honor court trials established by their peers. 

These courts laws only effected Jews and most of the time resulted in fines, social punishments or expulsion from the community.

“The lecture painted a good picture of how the Jewish communities dealt with the aftermath of the Holocaust," Alma senior Jacob Ahren said. "There was more than a Nazi versus Jew problem, but also an interracial battle happening as well. One thing I found interesting was instead of using vigilante justice, they resulted to court,” 

The event was a part of The Dr. Harold Abel Lecture Series in the Study of Dictatorship, Democracy, and Genocide in which CMU faculty, Mount Pleasant community members and representatives from the Abel family invite scholars of genocide to come speak on CMU’s campus. 

The series brings culture and knowledge to campus for students, staff and the public to take advantage of. Jockusch did not just focus on genocide, but the effect that the Holocaust had on the relationships of the people who were affected.

Mount Pleasant senior Chanda Crenshaw attended the lecture and found it interesting. 

"I enjoyed how the speaker used a series of essays and research to depict the events in an honest and non- biased way," Crenshaw said. "I feel that going to lectures like this one is good for personal understanding and research. Growth is in knowledge."