On 'Auschwitz': reflecting on the meaning of absolute death

The Blavatnik School of Government hosts Dan Diner, Chair of the Alfred Landecker Foundation and its Governing Council and Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for the 2021 Alfred Landecker Memorial Lecture.

The lecture tells the story of an awkward encounter between a Jewish woman prisoner and a female SS-guard in a slave-labour camp close to Dresden. The encounter takes place in the night of the infernal firestorm unleashed by Allied bomber squadrons on that city. An emerging short dialogue between the two women, between victim and victimizer, unravels a challenging question: ‘Can different deaths have different meanings and moral significance?’

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Dan Diner, Jonathan Wolff (Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy), Dapo Akande (Professor of Public International Law) and Marietta van der Tol (Alfred Landecker Postdoctoral Fellow). The discussion will be moderated by Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government.

The Alfred Landecker Memorial Lecture, taking place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is delivered in partnership with the Alfred Landecker Foundation. Established in 2019, the Foundation is dedicated to educating current and future generations about the Holocaust and the terrible price paid when intolerance and bigotry reign. The lecture takes as its guiding theme the values that can secure a better future for democratic society. The Alfred Landecker Memorial Lecture – as the Foundation itself – honours the memory of Alfred Landecker, a German Jewish accountant, born in 1884 and deported eastward to his death in 1942, a victim of National Socialism.