Nazi students unload confiscated materials for the public book burning about to take place in 1933 on the Opernplatz in Berlin. The banner on the back of the truck reads: "German students march against the un-German spirit." National Archives
After Adolf Hitler was appointed German Chancellor in January 1933, the new Nazi government began an effort to completely reorder public and private life in Germany. The Nazi regime quickly targeted German universities—among the most elite in the world at the time—for restructuring according to Nazi principles. These forces, along with increasing antisemitism under Nazi rule, transformed everyday life at German universities, from the curriculum that was taught, the instructors that the university employed, and the type of community that students sought to build. During this same period, Indian boarding schools in the United States (in existence since 1819) thrived on principles that also defined if–and how–Native American children could be part of American society. Using a curriculum that sought to violently “civilize” and “assimilate” these children, these schools, too, drew upon racist ideology. While these policies had very different outcomes, they were both based on shared ideas of “racial” hierarchy and national belonging. This discussion will explore the role of the educational systems and their underlying ideology in Nazi Germany and the United States, as they each sought to create a specific exclusionary national identity during the 1920s through the 1940s.
Dr. Margaret D. Jacobs, Charles Mach Professor of History; Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dr. Adam Knowles, Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Zurich
Dr. Hollie Mackey, member, Northern Cheyenne nation; Associate Professor of Education, North Dakota State University; Associate Director of Graduate Student Development, University Council for Educational Administration; and Former Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities
This in-person or virtual discussion is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
For more information, contact Kierra Crago-Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event is the second of three that are part of the Museum’s 2023 Meyerhoff Annual Lecture series.
Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff of Baltimore, Maryland, were active philanthropists in the United States and abroad, focusing especially on Jewish learning and scholarship, music, the arts, and humanitarian causes. Their children, Eleanor Katz and Harvey M. Meyerhoff, member and chairman emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, have endowed this lecture.
The mission of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center, part of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is to ensure the long-term growth and vitality of Holocaust Studies. To do that, it is essential to provide opportunities for new generations of scholars. The vitality and the integrity of Holocaust Studies require openness, independence, and free inquiry, so that new ideas are generated and tested through peer review and public debate. The opinions of scholars expressed before, during, or after their activities with the Mandel Center do not represent and are not endorsed by the Mandel Center or the Museum.