Peter Fritzsche examines how beleaguered Jews in German-occupied Poland answered the pressing question, “Where was God?” as the Nazis’ murderous intentions became increasingly clear. A great deal is known about how the Christian churches responded (or didn’t) to the persecution of the Jews, but much less about individual believers and the test of their beliefs in the frightful years 1941 to 1945.

Fritzsche is professor of history at the University of Illinois and has written extensively on cultural history; his books include Reading Berlin 1900 (1996) and Stranded in the Present: Modern Time and the Melancholy of History (2004). He has also continued to explore German and Holocaust history in Life and Death in the Third Reich (2008) and An Iron Wind: Europe under Hitler (2016), which was recently short-listed for Phi Beta Kappa’s 2017 Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize for contributions to the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.

Sponsored by the Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture Fund.