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Virtual Book Talk: Between Community and Collaboration – Laurien Vastenhout

February 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Wiener Holocaust Library is delighted to host a virtual book talk with Dr Laurien Vastenhout as part of our new academic book series to mark the publication of Between Community and Collaboration: ‘Jewish Councils’ in Western Europe under Nazi Occupation. Dr Vastenhout will be led in conversation by Dr Anna Hájková.

Between Community and Collaboration is the first comprehensive, comparative study of the ‘Jewish Councils’ in the Netherlands, Belgium and France during Nazi rule. In the postwar period, there was extensive focus on these organisations’ controversial role as facilitators of the Holocaust. They were seen as instruments of Nazi oppression, aiding the process of isolating and deporting the Jews they were ostensibly representing. As a result, they have chiefly been remembered as forms of collaboration.

Using a wide range of sources including personal testimonies, diaries, administrative documents and trial records, Laurien Vastenhout demonstrates that the nature of the Nazi regime, and its outlook on these bodies, was far more complex. She sets the conduct of the Councils’ leaders in their prewar and wartime social and situational contexts and provides a thorough understanding of their personal contacts with the Germans and clandestine organisations. Between Community and Collaboration reveals what German intentions with these organisations were during the course of the occupation, and allows for a deeper understanding of the different ways in which the Holocaust unfolded in each of these countries.


Dr Laurien Vastenhout is researcher at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and coordinator of the Master’s programme “Holocaust and Genocide Studies”, which is offered by NIOD in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In recent years, her research has focused on the history of World War II in Western Europe, the persecution of the Jews, the creation and functioning of Jewish representative bodies during Nazi occupation (Jewish Councils), and the Jewish communities in Western Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Her research projects are comparative and transnational in nature. Her book Between Community and Collaboration: ‘Jewish Councils’ in Western Europe under Nazi Occupation was published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) in 2022.

Dr Anna Hájková is associate professor of modern European continental history at the University of Warwick, UK, and the author of the celebrated monograph, The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt (OUP 2020).


Dr Christine Schmidt is the Deputy Director and Head of Research at The Wiener Holocaust Library. Her research has focused on postwar tracing and documentation efforts, the concentration camp system in Nazi Germany, and comparative studies of collaboration, rescue and resistance in France and Hungary.

Event guidelines for those joining online:

  1. The Library will send you a Zoom link and joining instructions via email prior to the event. Please check your junk email folders.
  2. Please try and join 5 minutes before the event start time and we will let you into the room (do try and bear with us if this takes a few minutes).
  3. If you would like to ask a question during the event, please type your question into the chat function, and we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A. Your webcam will not be seen during this event.
  4. The event will be recorded for the Library’s YouTube channel and will be shared at a later date.
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The Wiener Holocaust Library
The Wiener Holocaust Library
London, WC1B 5DP United Kingdom

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