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Some Were Neighbors: Choice, Human Behavior, and the Holocaust


How was the Holocaust possible? The central role of Adolf Hitler and other Nazis is indisputable, but they depended on countless others. What role did ordinary people play?

UCI Libraries invite you to a guest lecture and viewing of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) special poster exhibit Some Were Neighbors.

Thursday, October 12, 2023
5:30 – 8:00 pm
Langson Library Lobby

Refreshments will be served

Following the program, stay for a reception and viewing of the USHMM poster exhibit.

This UCI Libraries special poster exhibit was made possible by the Samueli Foundation.


Jeffrey KopsteinJEFFREY KOPSTEIN is professor of political science and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Irvine. His research focuses on interethnic violence, voting patterns of minority groups, and anti-liberal tendencies in civil society, paying special attention to cases within European and Russian Jewish history. These interests are center topics of his latest books, Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust (Cornell University Press, 2018) and Politics, Violence, and Memory: The New Social Science of the Holocaust (Cornell University Press, 2023).  Professor Kopstein’s research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, US Department of Defense, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a member of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.


WOLF GRUNER is the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and founding director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research. He has served as an appointed member of the Academic Committee at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum since 2017. He is the author of 11 books, among them Resistors: How Ordinary Jews Fought Hitler’s Persecution (Yale University Press, 2023), Jewish Forced Labor Under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims (Cambridge University Press, 2006), “Parias de la Patria” El mito de la liberación de los indígenas en la República de Bolivia 1825–1890 (2015), and the prize-winning The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses (2019). He also coedited four books, including Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust (2020) and New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison (2019).


The central role of Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders in the murder of six million Jews is indisputable, but they did not act alone. The Nazis had help from millions of people across Europe. What role did ordinary people play, and why did so few help the victims?

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) special poster exhibit Some Were Neighbors challenges us to ask important questions as we reflect on the motives and pressures that influenced citizens' choices and behaviors. Some Europeans acted out of hatred for Jews, but many others weighed various pressures and incentives in responding to the plight of the victims. Amid war and upheaval, a range of motivations—fear, greed, opportunity—led people to make choices that often had deadly impact.

This exhibit will be on display in UCI Libraries Langson Library in October and November 2023 during regular library hours.


Related LibGuide: History by Nicole Arnold

Thursday, October 12, 2023
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Langson Library Lobby
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