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Patrick Bernhard

Senior Fellow (09/2022 – 01/2023)


North Africa and the Holocaust: An Interweaving History of National Socialism and Colonialism


Patrick BernhardTo this day, the question of the connection between colonialism and National Socialism is highly controversial. The project takes a new approach to the problem: Instead of drawing comparisons between the German presence in Africa during the German Empire since the end of the 19th century and the National Socialist extermination policy in Eastern Europe 40 years later, as has been customary in the past, the transnational perspective will now be examined; how the Holocaust initiated and driven by the Nazi state played out on colonial soil in North Africa when the region became an important theatre of the Second World War and the 450,000 Jewish people living there became the focus of persecution.

Conceptually, the work is thus oriented towards approaches of recent works on the Holocaust in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, which analyse the persecution and murder of Jews against the background of pre-existing local conflicts between population groups defined as religious, ethnic or racial and thus embed them in longer temporal contexts.


Patrick Bernhard, Professor of Modern European History at the University of Oslo. His areas of specialisation include collective violence in modernity, the history of the Mediterranean and the relationship between colonialism and fascism. He has recently published on colonial mass violence and the persecution of Jews in North Africa, as well as on Nazi Germany and its interconnections with other empires.


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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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