The Perse School

Josef Behrmann Lecture

6 Feb 2012

Historian Professor Miri Rubin brought the Middle Ages vividly to life when she delivered the second annual Josef Behrmann Lecture. The lecture series honours the late Josef Behrmann, an Old Persean who survived the Nazi death camps and went on to give evidence for the prosecution at Nuremberg.

Taking as her topic William of Norwich and the Rise of Anti-Semitism in England in the 12th Century, Professor Rubin demonstrated that the vilification of the Jewish community and the power of anti-Semitic propaganda seen in the first half of the 20th Century had similarly been played out 800 years earlier.

Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London, Professor Rubin is also the mother of an Old Persean. The audience, comprising parents, Old Perseans and current students and staff, was enthralled. A lively question and answer session followed the lecture. Senior Tutor Bruce Kinsey introduced the speaker, an old friend, and gave a vote of thanks afterwards.

Drinks and kosher canapés were served by Perse prefects before the lecture, which took place in the Rouse Library. There was a great deal of interest in a display about the life of Josef Behrmann. Put together by school archivist, David Jones, the display features many fascinating photographs and documents. It will remain in the library foyer for the rest of the term.

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