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Rabbi Admiral Aaron Landes Lecture Series: Fighting For Rights - Conscription and Jewish Emancipation in Modern History

Derek J. Penslar, Ph.D.
William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History, Harvard University 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022
7:00 p.m. ET, Online

From the French Revolution until the Second World War, Jews associated conscription with emancipation, either already achieved (as in France) or to be gained through brave and patriotic service (as in Central and East Europe). Although anti-Semites routinely accused Jews of draft-dodging, in fact Jews were often more eager to serve than others because of the desire to prove themselves as worthy of emancipation and social acceptance. This talk will compare the demands for military service made upon Jews by modern states, Jewish reactions to those demands, and the actual effect of Jews in uniform on popular perceptions of Jews.

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