„A Jew who defeated Nazism: Herbert Sulzbach’s Peace, Reconciliation and a New Germany“

9. April 2024 18:00

Ainslie Hepburn

Herbert Sulzbach was a fairly „ordinary“ person who successfully changed the lives of thousands of people at the end of the Second World War. His story is also a microcosm of European history.

Sulzbach came from an elite German Jewish banking family, and was educated in the ideals of the German Enlightenment. In the First World War, he served as a front-line artillery officer with the German Army and fought for his country with courage and patriotism. Defeat was a shattering disappointment, and the economic depression ruined his business and the family banking fortunes. Sulzbach’s life in Berlin with his artistic wife, Beate, was cushioned by wealth and the cultural life of the city, but National Socialism brought this to an end, and he fled with Beate to exile in England where they were interned as ‘enemy aliens’. In the Second World War, Sulzbach fought in the British army against Nazism. He found his calling as an interpreter and educator in PoW camps where his work of ‘de-nazification’ and re-education paved the way to reconciliation. Working with German prisoners of war in Britain – some of them high-ranking officers – and helping German prisoners to return to their homeland to rebuild a new Germany, he made a remarkable contribution to post-war Anglo-German reconciliation and friendship. His personal qualities of empathy were crucial to his work and the important relationships that made this possible. In the course of his lifetime, he was awarded nine medals by six different heads of state.

Ainslie Hepburn is a writer, historian and tutor who specializes in the social history of „ordinary“ people during the Second World War. She has a first-class honours degree from the Open University and has tutored adult students at the Workers‘ Educational Association. She is a thorough and deep researcher in both official and rare sources, including oral history. Her work has previously been published in the Journal of the George Bell Institute and in Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte.

The event will be chaired by Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Vice-Chairman of the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft.

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