Center for Jewish History and American Jewish Historical Society to Host Symposium on Jewish Resistance to Fascism

New York, NY (October 01, 2023)

The Center for Jewish History (CJH) in partnership with the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) will host a major public symposium on the history of Jewish responses to fascism from the 1930s to the present.  The event will convene more than 20 internationally renowned scholars at CJH on October 15, 2023, and will be streamed online for free for those unable to attend in person.

Dr. Gavriel Rosenfeld, president of the Center for Jewish History said, “As the western world marks the 90th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, it is crucial to understand not only the circumstances that produced fascism but recognize how the supporters of liberal democracy fought against it.  Jews in Europe and the U. S. were among the fiercest opponents of rightwing extremism and joined with other groups to combat it through a mixture of political lobbying, economic boycott, artistic mobilization, espionage, and even violent resistance.  Revisiting this history is especially timely given the surging support today for rightwing and neo-fascist groups.”

Gemma Birnbaum, executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, added, “So much of the narrative around this history has focused on Jewish people as victims of the Nazi genocide, which is a critical part of the story, but it is not the whole story. With this symposium, we will highlight some of the lesser-known Jewish individuals and groups that were critical to combatting fascism and extremism in all its forms.”

The October 15th symposium will present five thematically focused panels, including “What is Fascism?”, “Fighting Fascism in Europe, 1919-45” “Fighting Fascism in the United States, 1933-45,” “Fighting Fascism in Culture,” and “Fighting Fascism in the Postwar World.” Sessions, which are also appropriate for students in grades 7-12, will be made available on demand for viewing after the program’s conclusion.

The participants include: 

    • Helmut Walser Smith (Vanderbilt)
    • Ruth Ben-Ghiat (NYU)
    • Federico Finchelstein (New School)
    • Gavriel Rosenfeld (CJH)
    • Michael Brenner (American U.)
    • Shira Klein (Chapman U.)
    • Kenneth Moss (U. Chicago)
    • Jeff Veidlinger (U. Michigan)
  • Steven Ross (USC)
  • Anna Duensing (U. Virginia)
  • Jeff Gurock (Yeshiva U.)
  • Mark Dollinger (San Francisco State U.)
  • Samantha Baskind (Cleveland State)
  • Philip Eliasoph (Fairfield U.)
  • Thomas Doherty (Brandeis U.)
  • Christopher Vials (U. of Connecticut)
  • Matthew Dallek (George Washington U.)
  • Kenneth Jacobson (Anti-Defamation League)
  • Gemma Birnbaum (AJHS)

For more information on the symposium, or to purchase tickets, please visit

For information on CJH President Gavriel Rosenfeld’s new coedited volume (with Janet Ward) Fascism in America, please visit  

The program is presented with the generous support of Leonard L. Milberg and The Achelis & Bodman Foundation.