Keynote of the Lessons & Legacies 2023 conference
Please join us for the keynote lecture of Prof Ben Frommer (Nortwestern University) The Ghetto Without Walls: The Holocaust in the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The keynote is part of the Lessons & Legacies 2023 conference. A reception will follow.
Those interested are kindly asked to register by November 6, 16:00 at: tinyurl.com/carolinum
In mid-summer 1939, while Europe remained tenuously at peace, the Interior Ministry of the Protectorate of Bohemia of Moravia issued the unwieldly titled “Measures concerning relations of the Jewish population with the rest of the population.” Intended to eliminate the pretext for mounting antisemitic demands and violence by the Nazi occupiers and native Czech fascists, the Ministry’s directive metaphorically laid the foundation stones of what Miroslav Kárný, the dean of Czech Holocaust studies, termed the “ghetto without walls.” Over the subsequent months and years the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia were subjected to an ever-expanding array of prohibitions on their access to social establishments, public spaces, private businesses, and means of transport. Jews found that they could no longer swim, drink, shop or walk where they once had. In windowpanes and on storefronts throughout the territory “Jews Prohibited” signs became an ominously ubiquitous part of the streetscape.
In his keynote Benjamin Frommer will explore the origins, implementation, and enforcement of anti-Jewish segregation in German-occupied Bohemia and Moravia. He will discuss how public officials, non-Jewish merchants, and Jews in cities, towns and villages across the Protectorate reacted to the restrictions. On the one hand, officials in Prague and throughout the territory were complicit in the development and enforcement of the segregation measures. On the other, the introduction of the orders was slowed at first by what proved to be one of the most concerted acts of local opposition to anti-Jewish persecution during the occupation. Drawing on archival documents and firsthand testimony, Frommer will trace the construction of the “ghetto without walls” in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and discuss the significance of forced isolation to the genocide of what was once one of Europe’s most integrated Jewish communities.