Linked Fates: Poles and Jews in a Nazi Borderland

Brendan Karch
Louisiana State University

When: Thursday, November 3, 12:30 pm,
Where: International Center Seminar Room

Jews throughout Nazi Germany suffered under discriminatory laws that excluded them from the economy and stripped them of basic rights. But in a far eastern corner of Germany, in Upper Silesia, anti-Semitic laws did not apply from 1934-1937. Jews were protected under a bilateral German-Polish treaty originally designed to protect Poles.

While Upper Silesia’s Jews later suffered the same fate as their co-religionists elsewhere, most Polish speakers in the region escaped the murderous and brutal Nazi racism of World War II. This talk explores how national relations in this border region created both temporary relief for Jews and longer-term restraint in policies towards Polish speakers.

Brendan Karch is an Assistant Professor of History at Louisiana State University. He focuses on Central Europe, specializing in issues of nationalism in mixed-language border regions. His first book, The Instrumental Nation: German and Polish Loyalties in Upper Silesia, 1848-1960, will be published with Cambridge University Press.

Photos: Theresa Peischer.