Dr. Helmut Smith – The History of Anti-Semitism in Germany
In March 1900, in the West-Prussian town of Konitz, the dismembered body of a young man was found. When police failed to identify a clear suspect for the murder, rumors began to circulate that this had been a case of ritual murder perpetrated by local Jews. Over the ensuing months, an escalating cycle of accusations and hate tore the town of Konitz apart, and army troops had to be called in to keep the peace. Helmut Smith, Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of History at Vanderbilt, will describe in his talk how the long traditions of anti-Semitism in German culture contributed to this remarkable breakdown of civic unity in a small German town.