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Quakers Responses to the Holocaust

In the 1930s and 1940s, Quakers engaged in a number of remarkable—and controversial—activities that were intended to provide assistance to people who were being persecuted by the Nazis. Those actions were criticized by some US citizens (who thought that Quakers were giving unwitting aid to the Nazis) and also derided by Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels (who thought that Quakers were demonstrating a complete lack of awareness about how the world really works.) Nevertheless, Quakers’ actions did end up saving some lives. Students in this course will examine what Quakers accomplished—and failed to accomplish—in the 1930s and 1940s. The course is not designed as a venue in which to decide, once and for all, which of the Quakers’ actions were wise and which were foolish. The course is meant, rather, to offer students an opportunity to reflect on the ethical questions with which Quakers wrestled and an invitation to compare those questions with the ones they face themselves. Special attention will be paid the connections between Quakers’ responses to the Holocaust and Quakers’ religious beliefs and practices.0

David Watt

Haverford College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Other

Religous Tradition


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