Program: “Mennonites and the Master Race: Anabaptist Encounters with National Socialism”

Himmler and Klassen in Molotschna 1942Drawing on research from his forthcoming book, Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era, scholar Benjamin W. Goossen traces the relationship between Mennonites and German nationalism through the rise and fall of National Socialism, examining the responses of Mennonites who came under Nazi rule – such as the large colonies in occupied Ukraine – as well as those, like Mennonite Central Committee, who aided them after Germany’s collapse. Racial testing. Anti-Semitism. Aryan passports.  Mr. Goossen argues that these were par for the course for tens of thousands of Mennonites in Hitler’s Third Reich. Goossen asks how this story has been remembered, how it has been repressed, and what its recovery can tell us about Mennonite identity today.

Benjamin Goossen is a PhD student in Modern European History with strong interests in global and environmental history. He has held fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and he is a Beinecke Scholar. He has received awards for excellence in scholarship from the Kansas Historical Foundation, the Associated Church Press, and Swarthmore College. His essays and reviews appear in publications ranging from Nova Religio and Waging Nonviolence to the Journal of the History of Ideas blog.

The program is open to the public with admission by donation.